“He can do whatever damn he wants to. He’s earned that right.”
Graham was responding to President Donald Trump’s latest attack on the Arizona senator for opposing Republicans’ most recent attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans do not appear to have enough votes to pass the latest bill, which Graham co-wrote, and McCain is one of the few Republicans opposing the new legislation. Trump attacked McCain on Twitter Monday, and Graham fought back tears defending his longtime friend.
“John if you’re listening ... nobody respects you more than I do.” Graham said during a CNN debate Monday night. “So to any American who’s got a problem with John McCain’s vote, all I can tell you is that John McCain was willing to die for this country, and he can vote any way he wants to, and it doesn’t matter to me in terms of friendship.”
McCain was the deciding vote that derailed a previous Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare in July. The senator, who is currently battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, has had a poor relationship with Trump since the president’s candidacy, when he said McCain was “not a war hero.”
Watch Graham’s full response in the video above.