A “Saturday Night Live” cast member mocked the appearance of Texas congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost an eye while serving in Afghanistan.
During “Weekend Update,” Pete Davidson came on to give his thoughts on candidates ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
When he got to Crenshaw, a photo appeared on the screen with the candidate, wearing an eye-patch and smiling. “This guy is kind of cool — Dan Crenshaw,” Davidson began.
“You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate for Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie,” Davidson said while laughing at his own quip.
“I’m sorry. I know he lost his eye in war — or whatever,” he added.
Crenshaw, a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who is now a Republican running in Texas’s Second Congressional District, lost his eye during a deployment six years ago.
The biography on Crenshaw’s campaign website explains what happened, and how he persevered after the incident, continuing the serve:
“On Dan’s third deployment in 2012, his life changed forever. After six months of combat operations, Dan was hit by an IED blast during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was evacuated and awoke from his medically induced coma learning that his right eye had been destroyed in the blast and his left eye was still present, but badly damaged. Dan was completely blind and the doctors did not believe he would ever see again. Tara [his wife] stood by him every day and night, keeping faith and praying he would see again. After several difficult surgeries, he eventually regained sight in his left eye, a miracle according to the head surgeon. Dan refused to quit and went on to deploy twice more, first back to the Middle East in 2014 and then South Korea in 2016.
“Dan was medically retired in September of 2016, after ten years in the SEAL Teams. He left service with two Bronze Stars (one with Valor), the Purple Heart, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor, among many other recognitions. Soon after, Dan completed his Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In September of this year, he was back in Houston, volunteering for days on end in areas of Katy devastated by Hurricane Harvey. He saw first-hand the unthinkable losses that his neighbors suffered, but he also saw Texan grit and resilience. He wanted to do more, and this November Dan and Tara decided that the best way to serve the people of Texas would be in elected office.”
Later in the sketch, after giving his “impression” of Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence who is running for Congress in Indiana, Davidson said, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not insane. I shouldn’t be making fun of how anyone looks.” Davidson then made fun of his own appearance.
Despite the attempt at levity, some people on Twitter aired their disgust with the way Crenshaw was regarded, even if it was meant to be in jest.
In a tweet, Crenshaw responded to the controversy. “Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don’t deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes,” he said.
NBC did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.
In a video from TMZ, Crenshaw said neither Davidson nor NBC owed him an apology, but did reiterate that it’s probably a bad idea to make wounds endured by veterans the butt of bad-taste jokes.
“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks,” Crenshaw said, adding that it would be a “very healthy” direction for the U.S.
FiveThirtyEight gives Crenshaw higher than a 90 percent change of winning on Tuesday against Democrat Todd Litton and other third-party candidates.