Sen. John McCain’s attempt at humor has seriously backfired once again. On Monday, the Arizona Republican tweeted a joke comparing Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the monkey the country claims it sent to outer space.

Obviously it didn’t go over well, seeing as McCain later told his critics on Twitter to “lighten up.”

What McCain probably did not expect, however, was that he would be admonished by someone within his own party. But that’s exactly what happened when freshman Rep. Justin Amash, who is Arab-American, tweeted back, “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”

Or really, any jokes in general. Given McCain’s history of tweeting “horrifying wisecracks,” it might be time for him to reconsider how he uses Twitter.


McCain had sent a tweet in response to the strange news that Ahmadinejad was offering himself up to be Iran’s first astronaut, writing, “So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn’t he just there last week?” and linking to a story about the monkey.

…Amash, 31, is a libertarian Republican who was endorsed by Ron Paul and who has in a way molded himself in Paul’s image — which includes calling out more senior Republicans.

Brian Rogers, a spokesman for McCain, declined to comment on Amash’s reaction, saying in an email that “As Senator McCain said in his follow-up tweet, he was poking fun at Ahmadinejad’s outer space ambitions…” and including a link to the “lighten up” tweet.

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— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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