Senator Kamala Harris is condemning a question to her at event that used a slur for a person with an intellectual disability, saying the language used was “offensive” and “hurtful.”
Harris is facing some backlash on Twitter after she appeared to agree with a person at a campaign rally who asked a question, and at one point described President Trump’s actions as “mentally retarded.” Harris responded to the man that his comments were “well said.” Video of the incident was tweeted by disabled health care advocate Kendally Brown.
In his question to Harris, the person said: “I don’t buy that argument that impeachment does not make sense, and like when — I don’t buy that argument. There needs to be accountability. I mean, what are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?” The audience laughed and applauded after the person’s question.
Brown said in a follow-up tweet that Harris’ apparent agreement was a “betrayal of the disability community.”
“Using ‘retarded’ as a slur and an insult is never, EVER ‘well said,’ @KamalaHarris, no matter who it’s against and no matter the larger point being made. It’s ALWAYS a betrayal of the disability community. We need-and expect-better from you. #CripTheVote,” Harris wrote.
Harris told CBS News’ Caitlin Huey-Burns in an exclusive interview that she did not register the offensive term used in the moment, saying she did not “hear or process or in any way condone” it.
The 2020 candidate told @CHueyBurns the term is “incredibly offensive” and said in 2019 you would think “people would have a much better understanding of how hurtful a term like that can be.”
“It’s an incredibly offensive term,” Harris said in an interview. “It’s offensive and you would think that in the year 2019, people would have a much better understanding of how hurtful a term like that can be.”
“I heard him talk about the other stuff and then that came later and it was not something that I really heard or processed … or in any way condone, that’s for sure,” Harris continued.