McCain, undergoing cancer treatment, to attend Italy forum

Posted at 5:59 AM, Sep 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-02 09:01:53-04

Republican Sen. John McCain, who has spent the congressional recess undergoing treatment for brain cancer, is capping a busy summer of interviews, an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game and family hikes with a trip to an international forum in Italy.

McCain, who turned 81 this past week, will speak Saturday at the Ambrosetti Forum in Cernobbio in northern Italy, joining Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a panel focused on the United States.

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee will thank the Italian government and its people for their contribution to global security, including in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, as well as Italy's role in fight against Islamic State militants, especially in Libya, according to his office.

The six-term senator has been receiving radiation and chemotherapy for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. His office said the forum would be his first trip overseas during the current recess.

McCain underwent surgery in mid-July to remove a 2-inch blood clot in his brain. He announced shortly thereafter that he had been diagnosed with an aggressive tumor called a glioblastoma.

In a dramatic turn at the end of July, McCain returned to the Senate, where he cast a deciding vote against the Republican health care bill, drawing the wrath of President Donald Trump and conservatives. McCain's vote scuttled the seven-year effort by the GOP to dismantle much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

In an op-ed posted Thursday night by The Washington Post, McCain called for Republicans to work with Democrats. A frequent critic of Trump on some national security issues, McCain criticized the president and offered his view of Republicans' role.

"Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct," McCain wrote.

"We must respect his authority and constitutional responsibilities. We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates. We don't answer to him. We answer to the American people. We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation," he wrote.

McCain's office has said the senator will be back in Washington next week when lawmakers return from their break. The senator will be shepherding the annual defense policy bill.