- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 17, 2017

President Trump said Sunday that Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer, would return to vote for tax reform this week if needed to pass the bill, though the senator’s office later forecasted a January return to Washington.

Mr. McCain had been undergoing treatment for a viral infection at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington but Sunday returned to Arizona to spend Christmas with his family, according to the senator’s office.

Mr. Trump said he had spoken with Mr. McCain’s wife, Cindy, and that the senator would be available for the vote, which is expected as soon as Wednesday.

“I wished her well. I wish John well,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “They’ve headed back [to Arizona]. But I understand he’ll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won’t.”

Senate Republicans have a thin 52-seat majority but the leaders believe they have enough votes to pass the tax overhaul without the Arizona Republican.

“But the word is John will come back if we need his vote,” Mr. Trump said. It’s too bad. He’s going through very tough time, there’s no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote.”

At the request of Mr. McCain and his family, Dr. Mark Gilbert, chief of Neuro-Oncology at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute, released a statement describing the senator’s condition.

Senator McCain has responded well to treatment he received at Walter Reed Medical Center for a viral infection and continues to improve. An evaluation of his underlying cancer shows he is responding positively to ongoing treatment,” it said.

Mr. McCain’s office said the senator plans to undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

“He is grateful for the excellent care he continues to receive, and appreciates the outpouring of support from people all over the country. He looks forward to returning to Washington in January,” Mr. McCain’s office said.

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