There are certain words and phrases that have been deemed offensive in modern society that, when uttered by a conservative or Republican politician, will result in swift backlash from the self-appointed speech police on the left.
That same reaction doesn’t hold true for Democrats, though, as evidenced by the rather subdued response to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) use of the term “retarded” in a recent podcast, The Daily Caller reported.
Schumer apologized for his poor choice of words Monday, but noticeably absent in spurring on that apology was the furious outcry that would undoubtedly have erupted if, say, his counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), had said the same thing in the same context.
According to Politico, Schumer’s use of the forbidden “R”-word came during an appearance on the One NYCHA podcast as part of a discussion about housing initiatives to aid the homeless that were facing resistance from local residents.
Referencing his time in the New York Assembly between 1975-1980, Schumer said, “When I first was an assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children — the whole neighborhood was against it.”
“These are harmless kids. They just needed some help,” he continued, adding later that “We got it done. Took a while.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) June 14, 2021
It did not appear that Schumer received any pushback from the podcast hosts for his use of the term, and as noted, the media’s reaction was muted and virtually nonexistent. Nevertheless, the senator quickly issued an apology 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 said in a statement provided to the media.
“He used an inappropriate and outdated word in his description of an effort he supported,” the statement noted, and added, “He is sincerely sorry for his use of the outdated and hurtful language.”
Term replaced at federal level by Obama
The term “retarded” was long used to refer to individuals with exceptionally low intelligence or mental disabilities or Down Syndrome, though it began to fall out of favor decades ago and, as of a 2010 law signed by former President Barack Obama, was stricken from federal statutory language and replaced with the term “intellectual disability.”
Had that same “inappropriate and outdated word” been used by McConnell or any other prominent Republican, they would have been fiercely excoriated amid demands for their immediate resignation, but since it was a powerful top Democrat like Schumer, he will receive little more than a “tsk, tsk” from the speech police.