McCain insults Long Island, Schumer hits back at Arizona
November 30th, 2011
09:41 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain insults Long Island, Schumer hits back at Arizona

(CNN) - GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona apologized Wednesday night for taking a dig at Long Island, prompting Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to quickly bite back.

"Isn't it true that Justice (Sandra Day) O'Connor was specifically referring to a person who was captured on Long Island? Last I checked, Long Island was part – albeit sometimes regrettably – part of the United States of America," McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

He made the joke while discussing a Supreme Court case during a Senate debate about detainee policies.

But to one (rather influential) New Yorker, McCain's snark about the island, home to more than 3 million people, wasn't that funny.

Sen. Schumer quickly fired off on Twitter: "All of America saw how heroic Long Islanders were on 9/11. #LongIsland deserves an apology."

About 50 minutes later, a reluctant McCain returned to the Senate floor and took the microphone.

"In an exchange I had on the floor I mentioned that the wonderful people and the wonderful Long Island, I made a joke," McCain said. "I'm sorry that 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."

The apology, however, didn't seem to do the trick for Schumer, who again took his disappointment to Twitter.

"NYers can take a joke. But if @SenJohnMcCain wants to mock parts of America, stick to Arizona," he wrote.

- CNN's Joe Von Kanel contributed to this report.

Filed under: Arizona • Charles Schumer • John McCain • New York • Senate
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. T Dog

    That was a pretty lame joke and a pretty lame apology by McCain.

    December 1, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  2. JJ

    Amen. Last time I checked Arizona is now part of Mexico, despite the whining geezers.

    December 1, 2011 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  3. MG

    Don't worry John, the rest of the country keeps wondering how an idiot like Charles Schumer(D) keeps getting re-elected from places like Long Island! ........regrettably is correct!!!

    December 1, 2011 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  4. Jack in Florida

    Let's stick to fixing this country and repeal the Bush Era tax cuts.......enough junior high school nonsense.

    December 1, 2011 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  5. Joe, San Diego

    McCain just isn't funny, had someone made a joke about being a POW, I wonder would McCain have a sense of humour?

    December 1, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  6. Chuck Schumer? Are you Serious?

    The only part of Long Island Chuck You Schumer has ever visited is the Hamptons - at a party thrown by some rich liberal show biz type.

    Schumer is a far bigger insult to LI than anything McCain could ever say.

    December 1, 2011 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  7. yankeesfan

    bad joke. not a real apology. McCain used to be respectable. now he's just a grouchy old man that needs to retire.

    December 1, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  8. T'sah from Virginia

    Well – the part of LI I remember is still part of NY... It was a JOKE! New Yorkers get it because they're TOUGH... I'll give this one to McCain!!

    Obama 2012

    December 1, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  9. Jon in Rochester

    I wouldn't call that an apology at all. McCain is a sad grumpy old man!!

    December 1, 2011 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  10. OhioConservative

    Would someone please tell me how Long Islanders were "heroic" on 9/11? Seems to me, that everybody in NYC and the surrounding area thinks they are heroes because they were attacked. Pompous and arrogant is what they are.

    December 1, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    McCain doesn't understand that you can't mock anyone else but yourself (in this case he could mock Arizona). McCain should learn just to make an applogy and not put any slights in there. I am guessing that he has never been to comedy clubs in NYC. There are funny people there from NY.

    December 1, 2011 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  12. search for sanity

    Normal crap in Washington, instead of doing real work they are cracking jokes and fighting.. We need a new Representative body of goverenment that will help the people not have childish exchanges of any sort!

    December 1, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  13. Hall for President Obama

    Thank you, people in glass house should not throw stones. If you can not take a joke please dont give one. Talking to John.

    December 1, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  14. ItsOnlyFair

    Senator McCain: Sincerity aside, we do not hear your apology to the great people of Long Island. Senator Schumer should be offended. How you deal with your colleagues is one matter, how you respect people of the nation is another. By the way, when lawful US citizens have to travel with their passports in Arizona to prove their citizenship (in case we get stopped by the traffic cops) – boy! do we feel like being somewhere that's not part of America.

    December 1, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |

    Mr. McCain should remember that Long Island has one of the nations highest percentage of Vietnam Veterans living there and like Schumer said, many of the first responders and many of the people that lost their life on 9-11 were from Long Island. Many Long Island train stations had cars that weren't moved for weeks after 9-11 because they belonged to victims. And Long Island has always been a home to people of all races and has a murder and crime rate way below the rest of the country and way lower than any place in Arizona

    December 1, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  16. Clwyd

    Is being stupid a requirement before you can become a republican?

    December 1, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  17. annette

    typical repub – says something idiotic – then retracts/apologizes etc.

    December 1, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  18. EddyL

    Stupid thing to say from a stupid man.

    December 1, 2011 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  19. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    John McCain regrets that Long Island is part of the United States?

    December 1, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  20. give peace a chance

    Open mouth, insert foot.

    December 1, 2011 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  21. Ric

    Just another example of how utterly stupid McCain is. He actually thinks that was an apology?? Time for this old geezer to retire and keep his yap shut.

    December 1, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  22. taylor

    I respect his service to the country, it still rankles me, the dirty, lowlife slurs, bush and
    company laid on him and it rankled, that Mr. McCain took it.

    December 1, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  23. Tam

    Stupid joke, not funny.

    December 1, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  24. SCAtheist

    Tell us what you really think Sen. McCain. That wasn't a joke, and you know it of course.

    December 1, 2011 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. Bill

    A "So What?" article.

    December 1, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
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