McCaskill Apologizes for ‘Sloppy, Embarrassing Mistake’ on Opioid Bill

Sen. Claire McCaskill

Sen. Claire McCaskill / Getty Images


Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) apologized Tuesday for falsely saying she was undergoing breast cancer treatment when the Senate passed a bill that is now facing fierce criticism.

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to go after drug distributors in 2016, and McCaskill said Monday she would not have gone along with the bill if she hadn’t been out undergoing treatment. Once it came to light that she was, in fact, back in the Senate at the time, McCaskill announced her apology.

Calling it a "sloppy, embarrassing mistake," McCaskill admitted she could have stopped the bill from passing through a voice vote, which only takes one senator. She pointed out, however, that she was not on the committee that drafted the bill.

"I actually was not aware of the bill," McCaskill said. "This is one of those things that’s scary about this place."

The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler Tuesday gave McCaskill’s claim "four Pinnochios," denoting total falsehood.

Following the Washington Post/60 Minutes report about the law that was passed, McCaskill quickly denounced it and made the false statement about being out receiving treatment.

"Now, I did not go along with this. I wasn't here at the time," McCaskill said Monday. "I was actually out getting breast cancer treatment. I don't know that I would have objected. I like to believe I would have, but the bottom line is, once the DEA kind of, the upper levels at the DEA obviously said it was okay, that's what gave it the green light."

McCaskill said her office was confused about her schedule at the time because she returned from treatment earlier than he originally planned.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is the deputy war room director at the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at

Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits