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John McCain, Charles Schumer Spar Over Long Island Joke

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Sen. John McCain (above) dissed Long Island on the Senate floor today, earning a Twitter rebuke from New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

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.”

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