Candidate who lost eye in Afghanistan IED blast mocked by ‘SNL’s’ Pete Davidson
NEW YORK — “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson mocked the appearance of a congressional candidate whose eye was destroyed while he served in Afghanistan.
“This guy is kinda cool, Dan Crenshaw,” Davidson said on this weekend’s show, next to a photo of Crenshaw, a Republican. “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas, and not a hitman in a porno movie.”
“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” he added. “Whatever.”
The comment came during an “SNL” segment in which Davidson gave his “First Impressions” of the appearances of several candidates. After mocking Crenshaw, he took aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, “so I look fair,” he said.
Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL who did five tours of duty, lost his right eye when he was hit by an IED blast in Helmand province in 2012, according to his campaign website. Surgeries restored sight in his left eye. He recovered and ultimately deployed twice more.
Crenshaw was medically retired in 2016 with two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, according to his biography.
Crenshaw said on Monday that a joke was “dark” and that the show should have rethought the joke, but added that he doesn’t want a “hollow” apology.
“The first part of that skit was just strange … The second part, I think, is when it just became dark,” Crenshaw told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”
“We have thick skin, but as veterans, it’s hard for us to understand why war wounds would elicit such raucous laughter from an audience,” he said, adding, “I think they should’ve rethought that joke a little bit — if you can even call it a joke.”
Davidson’s derision quickly came in for criticism.
Crenshaw, who faces Democrat Todd Litton on Tuesday, reacted in a tweet on Sunday.
“Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended,” he wrote. “That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee also took issue with the joke.
“Getting dumped by your pop star girlfriend is no excuse for lashing out at a decorated war hero who lost his eye serving our country,” NRCC spokesman Jack Pandol said in a statement, referencing Davidson’s recent split with singer Ariana Grande. “Pete Davidson and NBC should immediately apologize to Dan, and to the millions of veterans and military families who tune in every weekend — because they’re not laughing.”
Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son, tweeted that the comment “sounds more like leftist editorial than anything these days.”
Criticism of veterans injured in war has traditionally been off limits.
President Trump was sharply criticized in 2015 for dismissively saying former Sen. John McCain was “not a war hero,” although McCain spent years as a prisoner in Vietnam.
“I like people who weren’t captured, OK?” Trump said at the time.