(WASHINGTON) -- Deep in debate over detainee policy on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ., made an offhand joke which later led him to, rather grudgingly, take to the Senate floor for a public apology.
“Isn’t it true that Justice O’Connor was specifically referring to a case for a person captured on Long Island?” McCain said on the Senate floor, referring to a Supreme Court decision. “Last I checked, Long Island was part -- albeit sometimes regrettably -- part of the United States of America.”
McCain was discussing if the Supreme Court had ever ruled on a specific matter of law dealing with detainees detained within the United States and being held indefinitely without constitutional rights.
But the comment about Long Island, which had nothing to do with the specific detainee debate, ticked off New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who demanded an apology almost instantaneously for part of his state being the brunt of his joke.
“@SenJohnMcCain – All of America saw how heroic Long Islanders were on 9/11. #LongIsland deserves an apology,” the twitter account of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY., tweeted to McCain.
McCain then returned to the Senate floor and gave a perfunctory apology -- suggesting that maybe Sen. Schumer needed to have a better sense of humor.
“I made a joke,” McCain said. “I’m sorry there’s at least one of my colleagues that can’t take a joke and so I apologize if I offended him and hope that someday he will have a sense of humor.”
This half-hearted apology didn’t sit well with Sen. Schumer who again took to twitter to chastise McCain.
“NYers can take a joke. But if @SenJohnMcCain wants to mock parts of America, stick to Arizona,” Sen. Schumer’s office tweeted.
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