McCain, a former The View co-host, was among numerous Twitter users who tweeted photos of Sunday’s crossword problem. He also joined a slew of critics in pointing out that the challenge was released on the night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Captioning the image in question, McCain wrote on Monday: “On the first night of Hanukkah the anti-Israel New York Times issues a crossword puzzle that looks like a swastika. Can’t make this s*** up. We see you @nytimes—we see you.”
Numerous of McCain’s followers agreed with her, but several other Twitter users disagreed with the conservative writer. Swalwell responded to her post on Monday night, saying, “You’re deranged.”
Responding, McCain wrote in a tweet: “I never slept with a Chinese spy—so I’d really take a seat throwing around the moral judgments homeboy.” McCain seems to be referring to Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese intelligence asset who worked for McCain in 2014 and 2015.
While opponents have accused Swalwell of being corrupted by Fang and the Chinese government, Swalwell has stated that he cut off ties with them when the FBI approached him in 2015.
Continuing to hit back at Swalwell, McCain wrote: “A member of Congress spending his time ‘dunking’ me on Twitter in the middle of the night while our country faces the end of title 42 border crisis that’s going to annihilate our infrastructure is an example why everything is going to s***. Focus on your work & district, clown.”
When a Twitter user replied that Swalwell’s tweet was sent at 10 p.m. and advised McCain to “relax,” the congressman clarified that it was “7 pm in California.”
Hitting back at Stilwell’s response, McCain tweeted: “GET A LIFE CONGRESSMAN! Hope all your constituents see how much time you spending tweeting at me—great use of taxpayer dollars.”
McCain was one of several prominent Twitter users who criticized the Times over the design of its Sunday crossword, and the discussion is still going on. In the midst of the discussion, Jordan Cohen, the New York Times’ executive director of communications, told Newsweek on Monday that the only intentional aspect of the crossword’s look was its symmetry.
“This is a common crossword design: many open grids in crosswords have a similar spiral pattern because of the rules around rotational symmetry and black squares,” Cohen said in a statement.