Donald Trump has so polluted our discourse and pulled the GOP so far into the gutter that the idea of a sitting Republican senator intentionally hurling a slur at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is unfortunately no longer an impossibility.
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) claims that a tweet in which he called Pelosi “retarded” was actually a typo caused by autocorrect which he is now apologizing for. Cramer made the original post in response to an article from far-right rag The Daily Caller about Pelosi’s thoughts on the federal government’s coronavirus bill.
“She’s retarded,” Cramer responded to the post, but now claims he meant to write “ridiculous” instead of the slur, which is deeply offensive to people with mental disabilities. He further claims that he didn’t realize his mistake for a few minutes, at which point he deleted the tweet. Screenshots, as always, survived.
“It’s a word I just don’t apply to people. I can be pretty tough in my rhetoric, but that’s not a word I apply to people for really good obvious reasons,” said Cramer, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m really sorry it happened,” he said and tried to chalk the alleged mistake up to “fat fingers.”
Even if we take Cramer’s at his word—a dubious prospect given that he serves in a party led by the world’s most infamous liar and bully—one must wonder why the word “ridiculous” would autocorrect to “retarded.” It seems to indicate that he uses the word freely and often in his private communications.
It’s worth noting that President Trump himself has a history of cruelly mocking disabled individuals. It should go without saying that people with disabilities, be they mental or physical, deserve all the respect and dignity afforded to non-disabled people.
Kylie Oversen, the Chairwoman of the North Dakota Democratic–Nonpartisan League Party, stated that there is “not a shot that (Cramer) is telling the truth,” and added that the autocorrect explanation only makes sense if Cramer regularly uses the R-word.
“I have no idea why anyone would use that word, let alone a sitting U.S. senator. It’s offensive and hurtful and unacceptable,” said Oversen.
It’s impossible to know for sure if Cramer is telling the truth about the typo, but the fact that we now live in a political reality where it’s even conceivable that a Republican senator might call the Speaker of the House “retarded” is a sad indicator of how inhumane our discourse has become under Donald Trump.