Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) laughed after a Democratic voter called President Donald Trump "mentally retarded," responding that his comments were "well said."
"What are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?" an audience member asked Friday, seeming to support impeachment.
Recent Stories in Politics
The crowd applauded, and Harris laughed and said, "Well said, well said." However, she later claimed she did not hear the question and apologized.
Conservative writer Raheem Kassam posted a video of the exchange on Twitter.
I once said "mentally retarded" on Twitter and got banned.
How come @KamalaHarris is allowed to endorse that kind of language?
"Well said". pic.twitter.com/tTJyQex7I8
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) September 7, 2019
Claiming to have misheard the question is apparently the senator's favorite excuse when she has to put her foot in her mouth. She said the same thing after she called for ending private health insurance during a Democratic primary debate this summer.
Disability-rights advocates have expressed their disappointment.
"Fighting against the R-word is disability rights 101. We have been working against that word in particular for decades," journalist David M. Perry told The Hill.
In a comment afterward, Harris blamed the questioner for being "offensive."
"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," Harris said.
She tweeted an apology Saturday.
When my staff played the video from my town hall yesterday, it was upsetting. I didn’t hear the words the man used in that moment, but if I had I would’ve stopped and corrected him. I’m sorry. That word and others like it aren’t acceptable. Ever. https://t.co/mNmo1hyNpW
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) September 7, 2019
Many pundits have speculated about Trump's mental health, with some even saying the cabinet has grounds to remove him for mental unfitness using the 25th Amendment. Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci recently said the president's behavior has "gotten worse" over the past year.
Scaramucci said the president is in "severe mental decline."
"I’m not saying that now because I’m a political adversary or I disavowed him, I’m saying that objectively just looking at what’s going on," Scaramucci said.
Two psychiatrists published a Medium post earlier this week advising that the president "undergo a full and comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation."
MSNBC host Chris Hayes wrote on Twitter that Trump's "Alabama obsession" is indicative of some sort of clinical mental disorder. Hayes was referring to the ongoing media controversy over the altering of a map projecting the path of Hurricane Dorian.
"I mean this seriously: The Alabama obsession really feels…clinical at this point? I mean if someone in your life was acting this way, you'd be legit concerned," he wrote.
Updated: Sep. 8, 9:13 a.m.: This post has been updated with Harris's apology on Twitter.