It was a vote for the ages. Pundits on MSNBC, where I was watching the coverage, said that they’d never seen anything like it. Hours of milling around on the floor of the Senate led to literally every news site on the internet with “ANY MINUTE NOW” banners. The picture available to cable news networks came from cameras in the Senate itself, and was thus like an “oil painting,” as Brian Williams woefully described it. I sat and named the aging senators to my wife as they passed by on the screen.
John McCain, the focus of nearly all the discussion on television, suddenly huddled together with a big cluster of Democratic senators — Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, Patty Murray, Chuck Schumer, and a handful of B-celebrity types — for a conversation that none of us could hear. We can only assume that we’ll know more about what was said as the day goes on.
Then the roll call began: We counted 44 Ayes with our fingers as the first round completed. McCain, like a Roman emperor, breezed back on to the floor as fast as an octogenarian fresh out of surgery might to deliver a thumbs-down to the vote. Given the known “No” votes from Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the bill was dead the second his digit pointed down.
The entire chamber gasped.
Seriously, you guys. It was like a movie. When the dust settled, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who at the time of this writing (Just before midnight, Pacific) is on the verge of trending already on Twitter as #WhinyLittleMitch — went back to the microphone and, near tears, lamented the failure of his majority party to finally do what they’ve been trying to do for seven long years. “Clearly a disappointing moment,” McConnell called it, before swiveling on his senate audience to deliver an angry speech about “doing what we said we’d do.”
Also up all night watching the results: Donald J. Trump. Those of us watching waited after the vote to see if he would tweet immediately, and he didn’t disappoint us:
3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
We are watching indeed, Donald. And Thursday night it was all fireworks.
Watch McConnell’s reaction to the vote here:
Featured image via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images