A Democratic congressional candidate said this week that Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has only shown "courage" by standing up to President Donald Trump because he has brain cancer.
"I've been tweeting on occasion about saluting [Republican Sens.] Bob Corker and John McCain and Jeff Flake—men who have shown a little bit of courage speaking truth to their own party," said Dean Phillips, a candidate in Minnesota's third House district.
"But it shouldn't take brain cancer and the retirement from the Senate to do so," he added.
McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in July. Phillips apologized for bringing up his illness in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
"First and foremost, I apologize to Sen. McCain for referencing his health, which I should not have done," Phillips said. "I greatly admire Sen. McCain's service to our country as well as his courage, and have for a long time."
"The point I was trying to make is that too many Republicans in Congress today—unlike Sen. McCain, Sen. [Susan] Collins, and a few others—have shown a troubling lack of courage and willingness to stand up for their constituents, including when it comes to protecting their access to affordable health care," he continued.
Phillips is running against Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen, a five-term Republican who won reelection in 2016 by nearly 17 points over his Democratic opponent.