If he was ever going to make a public appearance again, political pundits felt certain the Fourth of July Sen. John McCain would come into view. Yet on Wednesday, only images of senator’s daughter Meghan and her husband were available to the public.
Expectations for a Sen. McCain sighting were high given his tradition celebrating Independence Day with service members and diplomats stationed abroad.
This year however, only a statement issued through his office and posted on Twitter was forthcoming.
As I mark this #IndependenceDay at home in #Arizona, my thoughts are w/ the brave & selfless patriots serving around the world, who shoulder our burdens every day to secure the freedom we celebrate on this holiday. https://t.co/X3zyssTKg4 pic.twitter.com/8pvptFndQF
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 4, 2018
The Republican senator is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He has not been seen publicly since he returned to his family’s compound in Cornville, Arizona before the Senate’s last Christmas break.
Meghan, a political commentator and a co-host of ABC’s “The View,” and her husband Ben Domenech, publisher The Federalist and a CBS News contributor shared photos of friends at the compound celebrating the holiday. None of the photos included the senator.
Despite the fact that there was no sighting of – or sound from – the senator, the Arizona Republic published a puff piece on Wednesday afternoon, implying his good health: John McCain, Family Celebrate 4th of July.
Arizonans have grown uncomfortable with the seeming disappearance of the senator. Last week, conservative radio talk show host, James T. Harris shared an opinion piece that had gone viral by Republican strategist Constantin Querard, in which the senator’s inability to perform public duties was discussed.
I wrote it, but as well as @JamesTHarris reads it, you’re better off listening to it than reading it for yourself! We’re talking John McCain and how someone needs to start telling the truth to AZ voters. Starts at the 19:40 mark. #Circus #JamesT #550KFYI https://t.co/yu20yjAsJr
— Constantin Querard (@CQuerard) July 3, 2018
In his piece, The Media Owes Us The Truth About Senator McCain, Querard makes it clear that his questions about the media’s handling of the senator’s condition should not be “construed as any sort of an attack on Sen. John McCain.”
“In fact, we can assume he may be unaware of what is going on, which is to a large degree the real problem,” wrote Querard referring to the senator. “Anyone who is familiar with the cruel disease he is suffering from knows certain medical facts and statistics very well. Articles that came out when Sen. McCain and his family first announced his disease last July, indicated a 95% mortality rate within 13 months of the primary glioblastoma diagnosis. If you know anyone who has been down this path with this disease then you are aware of the mental degradation when it comes to the patient’s speech and cognitive abilities, especially towards the later months.”
Querard called on the public to “include Sen. McCain in our prayers — that the good Lord gives him comfort and peace and brings the same to his family.” At the same time, Querard gave voice to McCain’s constituents who have grown weary of his absence:
There are those in Arizona who are unhappy their Senator is absent and not voting on their behalf. With the United States Senate so closely divided, McCain’s absence is the same as a NO vote on everything before the Senate that requires 51 or 60 votes to pass. That matters a great deal on major legislation and potentially could be a huge deal if we end up with a Supreme Court vacancy. Nevertheless, it is not unusual for elected officials with health problems to hang on to their seats while they recover. Mark Kirk was a US Senator from Illinois who suffered a stroke during his first year in office and was absent for a lengthy period during his recovery, and that is but one example. There are those who will tsk tsk any discussion of the fact that recovery is not a realistic outcome for McCain, because his lifetime of service and his status as a genuine American hero has largely earned him the right to keep his seat no matter how important an active Senator might be to the state or country.
The real problem, more accurately the likely scandal that is largely being ignored both by those close to the Senator, by virtually the entire media, and by Washington DC as a whole, is that Senator McCain is simultaneously invisible from the public for obvious reasons, while remarkably active in terms of public statements and policy positions. Again, if you know people who have suffered from this disease, you know full well that in their later months, none of them would likely be participating in philosophical or political policy debates. None of them would likely be drafting policy positions for press releases.
According to sources, there is mounting pressure on both the senator’s camp and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to have the senator step down and appoint McCain’s wife Cindy in time for the Senate’s vote on the replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
President Donald Trump spoke to four potential replacements for retiring Kennedy last week. The president has said that he will name his nominee on July 9. The White House then hopes to have Kennedy’s replacement confirmed in time for the court’s next session in October.