Chuck Schumer’s office says he’s sorry for referring to disabled children as ‘retarded’

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The office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says he is apologetic after he made headlines by referring to disabled children as “retarded” during a recent interview.

What are the details?

The Washington Examiner first reported that Schumer, 70, was asked on the OneNYCHA podcast about an effort in New York to shelter homeless people despite opposition to the plan.

Schumer responded, “I have found that my whole career, I wanted to build, when I first was an assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregant living place for retarded children, and the whole neighborhood was against it.”

“These are harmless kids,” he added. “They just needed some help. We got it done, [but] it took a while.”

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As Politico noted, the term “retarded” is “considered outdated and offensive by many, and advocates for people with mental and intellectual disabilities discourage its use.”

None of the four hosts of the podcast pushed back or questioned Schumer on his use of the word.

The Sun reported that Schumer’s use of the word drew fury online, with critics saying Schumer’s use of the slur “shows who he is” and another suggesting his comment reflected “the way dems see homeless kids and their families.”

What did Schumer’s office say?

A spokesperson for Schumer told the Examiner in a statement reacting to his use of the word:

“For decades, Sen. Schumer has been an ardent champion for enlightened policy and full funding of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He used an inappropriate and outdated word in his description of an effort he supported that was led by the AHRC to build a group home in his Brooklyn district decades ago to provide housing and services to children with developmental disabilities. He is sincerely sorry for his use of the outdated and hurtful language.”

You may view Schumer’s interview with OneNYCHA podcast in its entirety at this link. His comments regarding the homeless housing initiative begin around the 38:20 mark, and are shown in the clip below.

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