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Trump on 'crusty' McCain: We hope he gets better and 'we need that vote'

  • President Donald Trump wishes Sen. John McCain a speedy recovery from a surgery.
  • Trump says "we need that vote" for the Senate to pass its Obamacare replacement plan.

President Donald Trump wished Sen. John McCain a speedy recovery on Monday — partly because Republicans need his vote to pass their Obamacare replacement plan.

"We hope John McCain gets better very soon because we miss him," Trump said at a White House event billed as a start to its "Made in America" week. "He's a crusty voice in Washington. Plus we need his vote. And he'll be back. And he will be back sooner than somebody else would be back. He'll be back soon. But we need that vote. And we need a number of votes. Because we need to repeal Obamacare."

The 80-year-old McCain, an Arizona Republican who is one of the most frequent Trump irritants in the GOP, underwent surgery Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would delay its consideration of the Republican health-care bill while McCain recovers.

The GOP, which holds 52 seats in the Senate, has already seen two defections from within the party and cannot lose another vote and pass the bill. With McCain recovering this week, McConnell abandoned his goal to vote to debate the plan, for now.

McCain has criticized his party's process of drafting the legislation but was expected to support the bill.

Trump on Monday promised to replace Obamacare with something "outstanding" and "far, far better" than the current health-care system. He said that Republicans are having problems reaching a consensus because they're representing "a lot of different states."

"But we're getting it together," Trump said.

In trying to win votes, Republicans have to balance competing concerns of moderate and conservative members. Beyond conservative Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and moderate Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who have opposed the plan, at least six other Republican senators are undecided on the bill.

Watch: Healthcare vote delayed as McCain recovers from surgery