President Trump, former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, members of Congress and other Washington officials put aside bickering and partisan gridlock to rally behind Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who announced he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“Senator John McCain has always been a fighter,” Trump said of the 80-year-old senator he once slammed for having been “captured” in Vietnam. “Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.”
Obama, who ran against McCain in the 2008 presidential election, called him “an American hero & one off the bravest fighters I’ve ever known.” In a Twitter message, Obama added: “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”
John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 20, 2017
The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix said tests revealed a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma associated with a blood clot above McCain’s left eye that was removed last week.
“The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team,” said the hospital in a statement. “Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”
McCain’s type of cancer is particularly aggressive, with commonly poor prognoses, according to medical experts. The late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) survived less than 15 months after he was diagnosed with the same condition.
McCain’s family, fellow members of Congress, statesmen and supporters immediately took to Twitter to express shock, prayers and many appeals to his tough reputation.
His daughter, Meghan McCain, tweeted a statement saying “he is the toughest person I know. … Cancer may afflict him in many ways: But it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”
George H.W. Bush, who has experienced his own bouts of recent health scares, gave McCain a stirring tribute Wednesday night.
“The Hanoi Hilton couldn’t break John McCain’s spirit many years ago, so Barbara and I know — with confidence — he and his family will meet this latest battle in his singular life of service with courage and determination,” he said.
Former president Bill Clinton, former vice president Joe Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and McCain’s former running mate, Sarah Palin, also expressed their support.
As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) July 20, 2017
John McCain is as tough as they come. Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 20, 2017
John and I have been friends for 40 years. He's gotten through so much difficulty with so much grace. He is strong – and he will beat this.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 20, 2017
John McCain is one tough fighter – we know he'll face this diagnosis with courage and strength. Our family… https://t.co/XXTUltNGey
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) July 20, 2017
Sen. Jeff Flake (R) said that he spoke with his fellow senator from Arizona and that it was a “tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.” Flake joined former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D), Rep. Andy Biggs (R), and Rep. Trent Franks (R), all Arizonans, in rallying behind McCain.
“I have been amazed by his energy and vigor for serving his country over the years, and the sacrifices he made for this nation are unmatched,” Biggs said. “I hope to see him back on Capitol Hill soon, and I know that he will fight this diagnosis with every ounce of strength he has within him.”
“John McCain is an American hero and possesses such great strength and courage,” Franks said. “He has exhibited those qualities his whole life and I have no doubt he will continue to inspire us all in this next fight.”
Just spoke to @SenJohnMcCain. Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 20, 2017
Hang in there @SenJohnMcCain. You're tough! You can beat this. Fight, fight, fight! I am proud to call you my friend.
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) July 20, 2017
Politicians from both sides of the aisle offered their encouragement and prayers.
Karen & I are praying for @SenJohnMcCain. Cancer picked on the wrong guy. John McCain is a fighter & he'll win this fight too. God bless!
— Vice President Pence (@VP) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is a hero, a patriot and a fighter. I am privileged to call him a friend. Paul & I pray for his recovery and his family.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 20, 2017
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) July 20, 2017
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero. I pray for him and his family. I look forward to seeing him soon.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 20, 2017
Thinking about a hero, my Chairman, my friend John McCain. Stay strong!
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) July 20, 2017
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) July 20, 2017
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) July 20, 2017
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) described a visit to Vietnam he made with McCain last month, remarking on the effort McCain has shown to strengthen relations with the country.
“We visited the site where his plane was shot down and the prison where he was a POW,” Coons said. “Throughout our visit, I saw his humor and grace in recounting this very hard history, and in many meetings with senior Vietnamese officials, I saw the very high regard in which he is held throughout the country for his amazing work over 22 visits to Vietnam to reconcile our countries.”
My friend @SenJohnMcCain is a dogged ole S.O.B.
Sharp as hell and tougher than a $2 steak.
I look forward to catching up with him soon.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 20, 2017
John McCain is a hero, one of the most respected senators and a friend. The hopes and prayers of the nation are with him and his family.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is tough as they come. I look forward to seeing him back in DC soon. with him and the entire McCain family.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) July 20, 2017
John is one tough hombre, and is my friend. I'm praying for you, John.
— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) July 20, 2017
John McCain is a fighter and a friend. If anyone can beat this cancer he'll do it. A true American hero.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) July 20, 2017
My thoughts are with you, Cindy & the whole McCain family tonight. Looking forward to seeing you in the Senate halls again soon, my friend.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) July 20, 2017
John McCain is a true American hero. We wish him a speedy return and pray for him as he faces the challenges ahead.
— Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) July 20, 2017
Prayers for @SenJohnMcCain as he battles cancer. His courage and service in Vietnam humbles all who cherish liberty and freedom
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) July 20, 2017
— Trent Kelly (@RepTrentKelly) July 20, 2017
— Darin LaHood (@RepLaHood) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is a patriot and a true public servant. He and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.
— Rep. David Kustoff (@repdavidkustoff) July 20, 2017
— Mark Sanford (@RepSanfordSC) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain has fought for our nation and has the prayers of our nation behind him.
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is a fighter & a hero. Thoughts & prayers are with him and his family.
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) July 20, 2017
My statement on Senator McCain: pic.twitter.com/oMFXEpOLAL
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) July 20, 2017
John McCain is a true patriot. If anyone can tackle a challenge like this, it's him. He, Cindy, and the McCain family are in my prayers.
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) July 20, 2017
McCain is one of the toughest men I know. He’s never been one to shy away from a fight and I don’t expect him to do so this time.
— Rep. Kay Granger (@RepKayGranger) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is an American hero and an honorable and dedicated public servant. My thoughts are with him and his family tonight.
— Rep. Pete Aguilar (@RepPeteAguilar) July 20, 2017
Senator McCain's life has always been one of heroics, as a POW in Vietnam or slaying proverbial dragons in the Senate.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) July 20, 2017
I ask that we all pray for him and his family. He is a special American.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) July 20, 2017
My thoughts and prayers are with @SenJohnMcCain & his family. I know you'll meet this challenge as you have every other, with courage.
— Alma S. Adams (@RepAdams) July 20, 2017
Get well soon @SenJohnMcCain : American hero, colleague, shipmate.
— Rep. Tim Murphy (@RepTimMurphy) July 20, 2017
.@SenJohnMcCain is an incredible patriot and a fighter. Renee and I are praying for him and his family as they face this tough battle.
— Richard Hudson (@RepRichHudson) July 20, 2017
Stay courageous @SenJohnMcCain, Suzanne and I have faith in your will to fight this. Our prayers are with you.
— Mike Conaway (@ConawayTX11) July 20, 2017
Sean Sullivan contributed to this report, which has been updated.