John McCain, the Republican maverick and conservative force in the US Senate, promised Thursday he would “be back soon” after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
Since the diagnosis, McCain has been showered with tributes from all sides as an American original whose lifetime of public service included years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and a 2008 run for the US presidency.
“I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support — unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!” McCain said on Twitter.
McCain, 80, was found to have an aggressive form of brain cancer after undergoing surgery last week for a blood clot over the left eye. A former US Navy aviator, McCain was shot down over Hanoi in 1967 as he conducted a bombing mission during the Vietnam War.
He spent five and a half years as a POW. As a sharp-tongued lawmaker from Arizona, McCain emerged as a hawk on foreign policy and a champion of the US military, albeit one who relished raking generals over the coals. He won the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, but lost the election to Barack Obama.
He has been a critic of Donald Trump — particularly the new president’s friendly views of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and skepticism about NATO.
“Senator John McCain has always been a fighter. Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family,” Trump said in a statement. “Get well soon.”