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'The Privilege of Being a Democrat': Schumer Immediately Forgiven for Using 'Outdated and Offensive' Word

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer referred to mentally disabled children as “retarded” during a recent podcast interview and rather than drag him through the wringer as they would if a Republican had said it, the media immediately forgave him.

Appearing on the One NYCHA podcast, Schumer used the word “retarded” in making a point about the challenge of overcoming community resistance to housing initiatives meant to serve vulnerable populations.

“When I first was an assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children — the whole neighborhood was against it,” Schumer said, referring to the time he spent representing parts of Brooklyn in the New York legislature from 1975 to 1980 prior to serving in Congress.

“These are harmless kids. They just needed some help,” he said, adding that the effort was ultimately successful. “We got it done. Took a while.”

The term is considered outdated and offensive by many, and advocates for people with mental and intellectual disabilities discourage its use. (Politico)

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway said Politico’s reporting on it showed the “privilege of being a Democrat.” 

“Not a slur worthy of cancellation -- just an ‘outmoded word.’ So nice for him!” she added.

Others noticed Politico's generosity, too: 

Schumer later apologized through a spokesperson.  

“For decades, Sen. Schumer has been an ardent champion for enlightened policy and full funding of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” the spokesperson told Politico in a statement. “He is sincerely sorry for his use of the outdated and hurtful language.”

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