Senator John McCain’s joke comparing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the monkey that Iran claimed it sent into space earned him a scolding from a fellow Republican, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash.
“Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes,” Amash, who is of Palestinian and Syrian descent, tweeted at McCain. 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.
McCain then told everyone on Twitter who had taken him to task for the tweet to “lighten up.”
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.