Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) apologized Monday for using the word “retarded” to describe disabled children during a podcast appearance over the weekend.
Schumer was a guest Sunday on the “1 NYCHA” podcast, which examines public housing and related issues, when the topic turned to historic opposition to low-income and other forms of public housing.
“When I first was an assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children,” recalled Schumer, who represented parts of Brooklyn in Albany between 1975 and 1980. “The whole neighborhood was against it! These are harmless kids. They just needed some help.
“We got it done,” Schumer added. “Took a while.”
Video of the podcast was posted on the “1 NYCHA” Facebook page with the word “retarded” deleted from the closed captioning.
“For decades, Sen. Schumer has been an ardent champion for enlightened policy and full funding of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro told the Post.
“He used an inappropriate and outdated word in his description of an effort he supported that was led by the AHRC to build a group home in his Brooklyn district decades ago to provide housing and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,” Roefaro added. “He is sincerely sorry for his use of the outdated and hurtful language.”
AHRC refers to the organization formerly known as the Association for the Help of Retarded Children. Since the period referenced by Schumer, the organization has dropped its name and only goes by the acronym.