John McCain, Charles Schumer Spar Over Long Island Joke

Posted November 30, 2011 at 4:43pm

Updated: 6:25 p.m.

Sens. John McCain and Charles Schumer sparred today over a joke the Arizona Republican made about Long Island while discussing legislation on the Senate floor, with the New York Democrat taking to Twitter to demand an apology.

In a debate with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) over how the federal government should handle terrorist detainees apprehended on U.S. soil, McCain said: “Isn’t it true that Justice [Sandra Day] O’Connor was specifically referring to a case for a person captured on Long Island? Last I checked, Long Island was part — albeit sometimes regrettably — part of the United States of America.”

Schumer, who was not on the Senate floor at the time of McCain’s remark, responded on Twitter with a post directed at his Republican colleague: “All of America saw how heroic Long Islanders were on 9/11. #LongIsland deserves an apology.”

But McCain was unrepentant, taking to the floor soon after to deliver a sarcastic apology.

“In an exchange on the floor … I mentioned the wonderful people of Long Island,” McCain said. “I made a joke. 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.”

Schumer responded on Twitter: “NYers can take a joke. But if @SenJohnMcCain wants to mock parts of America, stick to Arizona.”