Representative-elect Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) has proven himself to be not only a war hero but also a cultural one, a man who had all the opportunity in the world to self-righteously grandstand in the face of mean-spirited mockery, but instead chose the classy route of grace.
Following his appearance on "Saturday Night Live" this past weekend, during which the newly-elected congressman accepted cast member Pete Davidson's apology for mocking his missing eye during a recent "Weekend Update" segment, Dan Crenshaw told NBC's "Today" that he hopes for a future when people "stop looking for reasons to be offended."
"It felt good. It felt like the right thing to do, and I would appreciate if everybody would stop looking for reasons to be offended, and that’s what this was all about," Crenshaw said.
The original slight against Crenshaw occurred when SNL's "Weekend Update" invited on cast member Pete Davidson to provide his comedic insight on the candidates for the upcoming midterms. When war veteran Dan Crenshaw came up, Davidson mocked the GOP candidate's missing eye, which he lost in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan.
"You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate for Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie," Davidson said as he held back his laughter. "Sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever."
Outrage immediately erupted on social media, with conservatives calling for Davidson and "Saturday Night Live" to apologize. Crenshaw, for his part, kept it classy by requesting SNL not make another "hollow apology" and instead invited them to donate to veterans' groups.
"I want us to get away from this culture where we demand an apology every time someone misspeaks," Crenshaw said. "I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know. They are feeling the heat from around the country right now and that’s fine."
This past Saturday, SNL did the unthinkable by inviting a Republican onto the program so Davidson could publicly apologize to him. Crenshaw used the moment to call for unity.
"There’s a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the Left and the Right can still agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another," said Crenshaw. "We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other. This is Veterans Day weekend, which means that it’s a good time for every American to connect with a veteran."
Crenshaw told NBC "Today" that he pressed SNL to use the moment to push a more serious message.
"They let me do that last part where we got a little bit serious and I was able to give a message about what I think it means to connect with veterans and how to bridge that gap between civilians and military," he said. "I suggested ['Never forget'] because it's less transactional. When you thank somebody, it's almost like you're on the other side of them. When you're saying 'Never forget,' it's almost like this secret code between Americans... it's more of a team effort than it is a separation of civilian and military."