John McCain Slammed For ‘Racist’ Joke On Twitter

John McCain was slammed for a “racist” joke he made on Twitter on Monday. The joke referred to Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “monkey.”

McCain’s tweet came with the news that Ahmadinejad wants to be Iran’s first human in space, but that the Middle Eastern nation sent a monkey into space last week. The Arizona Senator wrote:

“So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn’t he just there last week?”

The former presidential candidate immediately received backlash for his comments, deemed as racist by many Twitter users, as well as two congressmen. One, Michigan Representative Justin Amash, retweeted McCain’s comment, saying simply, “Whoa.”

After seeing the backlash his tweet received, McCain responded to say, “Re: Iran space tweet – lighten up folks, can’t everyone take a joke?” It seems that Amash, for his part, wasn’t able to let the joke slide. He retorted, “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”

But not everyone criticized the Arizona Senator for his comment. Conservative John Podhoretz defended McCain, saying:

“How dare McCain say something demeaning & disparaging abt the foremost anti-Semite on the planet … So…it’s defend-the-Jew-hater-from-the-war-hero day.”

It isn’t the first time that John McCain has made a controversial comment about Iran. McCain sang about bombing the Middle Eastern nation during his run for president in 2007. NBC News notes that he was asked by a voter in the GOP primary when the US would send an “air-mail message to Tehran.”

In response, McCain said, “That old Beach Boys’ song, ‘Bomb Iran’ Bomb, bomb, bomb –. anyway.” When defending his comment at the time, the senator stated:

“When veterans are together, veterans joke. And I was with veterans and we were joking. And if somebody can’t understand that, my answer is, ‘Please, get a life.’ “

Do you think John McCain’s tweet was really racist, or do more people need to lighten up about jokes?

[Image by Flicker photographer dsb nola (Flickr photo) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons]