A Republican senator who called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “retarded” in a tweet now claims that the offensive term was a slip of the finger.
Kevin Cramer, the junior senator from North Dakota, replied to a video clip posted about Pelosi’s work on passing a coronavirus relief bill by writing, “She’s retarded.” As KFYR-TV reported, the tweet was quickly deleted and Cramer claimed that he was trying to type a different word.
“I was literally typing with my thumbs ‘she’s ridiculous’ and I sent it. Of course, when I saw what I posted I deleted it,” Cramer told Inforum, via KFYR-TV.
Cramer went on to say that he did not realize the typo at first but quickly deleted it after realizing what he had written.
“A few minutes later I went in and was doing another tweet, retweeting one of the president’s tweets, and I saw it,” he said. “I thought ‘what the hell’ and deleted it.”
While Cramer did not directly apologize in the comments, he did acknowledge that the use of the word was unacceptable.
“Calling her ridiculous, that’s one thing,” Cramer said, “but [the word he used], that’s not acceptable.”
As the Grand Forks Herald reported, Cramer has been “on the offensive” against Pelosi in recent days as Democrats in the House and Republicans in the U.S. Senate hammer out details of competing coronavirus relief proposals that will later be put together in a final bill. In an appearance on Fox News, he accused the House speaker of adding a “Disney World wish list” of amendments. He went on to accuse Democrats of trying to seize a “political opportunity” amid the coronavirus crisis.
Much of the pushback came from a new insertion to the coronavirus bill from Democrats insisting that the stimulus package include funding for expanded mail-in and absentee voting for November’s election.
Cramer’s explanation for the offensive word he tweeted did not go over well with some. As the Grand Forks Herald noted, the tweet came under attack from the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. Kylie Oversen, the party’s chairwoman, said she did not believe that Cramer was telling the truth about the word used being a mistake, noting that auto-correct would not come up with the offensive word unless Cramer typed it regularly.
“I have no idea why anyone would use that word, let alone a sitting U.S. senator,” Oversen said. “It’s offensive and hurtful and unacceptable.”