PHOENIX — President Trump taunted Sen. John McCain on his home turf Tuesday, repeatedly telling a boisterous rally that they were just one vote away from repealing Obamacare.
“We were one vote away. Think of it —seven years. one vote away from repeal,” said Mr. Trump, holding up his index finger.
Mr. Trump never mentioned by name Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who cast the deciding no vote in a 49-51 vote that killed the repeal-and-replace bill. But the hometown crowd knew exactly who the president was talking about.
Mr. Trump vowed to keep fighting to repeal Obamacare, which has been the top priority for Capitol Hill Republicans for seven years until the effort collapsed last month.
“One vote. Speak to your senator,” he said. “Please. speak to your senator.”
Mr. Trump has repeatedly clashed with Mr. McCain and Arizona’s other U.S. senator, Jeff Flake, whom the president has targeted for defeat in the midterm election next year.
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The president said his advisors pleaded with him not to mention anybody by name at the rally.
“They all said, ‘Mr. President, your speech was so good last night. Please, please Mr. President, don’t mention any names.’ So I won’t,” said Mr. Trump
The crowd responded by chanting “drain the swamp!”
“One vote away,” said Mr. Trump, again raising his index finger. “I will not mention any names. Very presidential, isn’t it?”
He said he also was cautioned not to mention Mr. Flake by name.
“And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator who is weak on borders, weak on crime. So I won’t’ talk about him,” said Mr. Trump. “Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is. So now — I haven’t mentioned any names — so now everybody is happy.”
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• S.A. Miller reported from Washington