Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is under fire after a voter at one of her rallies called Donald Trump’s actions “mentally retarded” and the 54-year-old laughed at the remark, praising the voter. Video of the interaction is spreading on Twitter, and people on both the left and right are criticizing her reaction.
The Hill reports that Harris’ campaign said Saturday that she hadn’t “processed” the language of the voter — who was addressing the congressional Democrats that had declined to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Trump — when she responded to him.
“@KamalaHarris told me that ‘in the year 2019, people should know it’s hurtful,'” tweeted CBS News political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns, who interviewed the former prosecutor on Saturday. “She said she did not hear him use the term.”
Although the phrase “mentally retarded” was once a clinical term to describe people with intellectual disabilities, it is now considered by many to be a slur — especially when it’s used to insult someone. Harris reportedly addressed this history in her interview with Burns.
“It’s offensive, and you would think that in the year 2019, people would have a much better understanding how hurtful a term like that can be — but also the history behind it, which is the history of really ignoring the needs and the realities and the capacity of our disabilities community.”
Kamala Harris said that she supports a mandatory buyback of military-style assault weapons, taking a more aggressive position than her main rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. https://t.co/RDFmRKAowc— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 7, 2019
Despite the history behind the term, it’s not the first time a variation of it has been used to describe Trump and his administration. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized Trump’s sanctions against Iran and said that his White House was “afflicted by mental retardation.”
“You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks,” Rouhani said, per The Hill, calling Trump’s sanctions “outrageous and idiotic.”
In the past, Trump was criticized for using hand gestures to mock The New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis. However, the president denied that he was mocking Kovaleski’s disability with his hand gestures.
During a rally, a voter referred to Trump's actions as "mentally retarded", prompting @KamalaHarris to laugh and say, "well said, well said."— Kendally Brown (@kendallybrown) September 7, 2019
I hate amplifying content I know the right will seize on and twist for their own hypocritical gain, but this hurts my heart. #CripTheVote pic.twitter.com/aVQWtLFw30
As for Harris, RealClearPolitics puts her in fourth place in the polls with 6.7 percent. Although her attack on Biden during the first debate helped her gain polling support and generate upward momentum — she was polling at 15.2 percent at one point — fellow Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s attack on Harris’ record as a prosecutor during the second debate saw her take a hit in popularity. Harris hasn’t been able to recover since then, and this new criticism doesn’t look to help her in the race to securing the nomination.