New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait spent his government shutdown day mocking WWII veterans who were shut out by the National Park Service (NPS) when they came to visit the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday morning, Representative Michelle Bachman (R-MN) and several Republican members of Congress helped tear down the barricades shutting the elderly veterans out of the WWII memorial. After the barricades were removed, dozens of veterans flooded in to conduct their often emotional visits.
But, thinking he was being funny, Chait took to Twitter to poke fun at the veterans, joking that the NPS should barricade the memorial with old Nazi soldiers.
Idea: fortify WWII memorial with tank traps and pillboxes manned by elderly Germans.
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) October 1, 2013
This is a pretty hard-hearted “joke,” as many of these veterans are in their late 80s and 90s and may not be able to make the trip again.
It wasn’t long, of course, before the Twitterverse erupted in condemnation of Chait’s “funny” joke. Instead of apologizing, Chait lashed out at his critics.
He tried to claim he was mocking tourists, not the WWII vets. “Also, the joke was on the idea that the memorial would be blocked to tourists, not on the tourists,” he said.
Then Chait even tried to turn his own atrocious behavior into an excuse to claim he was the one being attacked.
Chait again took to Twitter to complain, “Left and right both whip up fake-outrage mobs online, but conservative fake-outrage-ists seem more taken with violent fantasies.”