The political campaign trail is no laughing matter.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris learned that the hard way after being called out for her reaction to a rallygoer who called Donald Trump’s actions “mentally retarded” at a campaign event on Friday.
Disability rights activists criticized the California senator after she appeared to laugh at the remark, responding, “Well said, well said”
During a Londonderry, N.H., town hall rally, an attendee brought up POTUS’ potential impeachment before asking the California senator what she would do in the next one year, to diminish the “mentally retarded” actions of the president.
The reaction to the thoughtless remark was heard loud and clear on social media the next day after disabled health care advocate Kendally Brown tweeted out a 29-second clip of the exchange, writing it hurt her heart.
America’s Next Top Model winner and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco, schooled folks about the use of the word—usually used as a pejorative—when he tweeted the video and wrote “1)R-word is unacceptable. It is a slur, an insult. 2) Kamala should have handled this better. An apology is needed.”
On Saturday, Harris apologized for her response, saying that she didn’t hear the slur.
“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,” she wrote on Twitter.
The former polarizing prosecutor took a harder line when questioned about the incident by an NBC News reporter at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention on Saturday.
“Let me just be really clear. I would never condone that kind of language being spoken by anybody about anybody. It is offensive. I have worked my entire career to do a number of things including ensure our disability community the dignity and rights that they deserve.
“I would never condone anyone using that word in any way shape or form, even against the guy I am running against. Period,” she continued.