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Harris Says She Didn't Catch 'Incredibly Offensive' Comment

Candidate apologizes for laughing and agreeing with questioner
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2019 12:01 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during the New Hampshire state Democratic Party convention, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Manchester, NH.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

(Newser) – When a questioner at a town hall asked Kamala Harris what she would do in the next year to curb "the mentally retarded action" of President Trump, she laughed with the crowd. "Well said, well said," she told him, the Washington Post reports. Now the Democratic senator and presidential candidate has apologized for her response to the "incredibly offensive" wording. The term "was not something that I really heard or processed" during the exchange Friday in New Hampshire, Harris said the next day, per Politico. "I would never condone that kind of language being spoken by anybody about anybody," Harris said. Had she understood what the man was saying, "I would’ve stopped and corrected him. I’m sorry,” Harris tweeted.

Kendally Brown, an advocate for health care for the disabled, posted a video of the exchange, per CNN, and tweeted, "I hate amplifying content I know the right will seize on and twist for their own hypocritical gain, but this hurts my heart." Nyle DiMarco, an actor and advocate for the deaf, tweeted: "R-word is unacceptable. It is a slur, an insult." Harris said Saturday that she's worked to ensure the rights of the disabled, and she was the first Democratic candidate to release a proposal to provide improved opportunities for disabled people. (Read more Kamala Harris 2020 stories.)

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