2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris gleefully laughed on Friday when a voter mocked Donald Trump with what is considered a slur against handicapped people. Yet, NBC has still not covered the incident. ABC and CBS have offered scant coverage and The View hosts defended the intentions of the Democratic senator.
On Friday, a man at a Harris rally asked about Trump: “What are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?” The 2020 Democrat responded with a big smile and cheered, “Well said. Well said.”
CBS provided the most coverage when it came to news programs, but this was only 81 seconds combined. On Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan called it a “gaffe” and asked guest Jamal Simmons of The Hill TV, “What was she laughing at?” Simmons called it a “bad moment.” He added:
You know, it was a bad moment. I think her campaign would have come off better if she said after this, “You know what? I reacted poorly to that. I wish I hadn't, instead of saying she hadn't heard it.” But that’s what happens in campaigns. Campaigns have bad moments.
On CBS This Morning, Ed O’Keefe concluded, “It was a rough weekend for Harris who had to apologize after a man attending one of her town halls called President Trump's actions mentally retarded.” He included a clip of Harris trying to dodge blame: “It was not something that I really heard or processed or, you know, or in any way condone, that's for sure.”
On The View, Joy Behar tried to explain the cringe-worthy moment away: “Well, she claims that she didn't hear it. The guy had an accent.” When fellow guest Abby Huntsman reminded her of John McCain standing up for Barack Obama in 2008 after someone at a rally insulted him, Behar didn’t understand the point: “That example... it was true. Obama is a decent man. This guy [Trump] is not.”
(As a reminder, Behar doesn’t really care about decency. In 2016, she defended Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy, saying she’d vote for a rapist as long as they were a Democrat.)
Host Sunny Hostin spun laughing at “retard” by defending Harris on policy: “She's the only candidate that has a real plan for people with disabilities.”
This proves, yet again, that you can get away with a lot of bad behavior, as long as you’re a Democrat.
[Note about checking for coverage: ABC and NBC’s evening newscasts did not air on Saturday because of sports. On Sunday, only the NBC Nightly News aired. NBCNews.com has covered the story.]
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS's Face the Nation
11:14 a.m. Eastern
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jamal, I want to ask you as well, about gaffes I guess is a word we can use on the campaign trail. Kamala Harris, who we showed in our poll, was losing some ground to the benefit of Elizabeth Warren. Had to apologize for something she said at a rally this week. Will -- let's listen to what she says.
MAN: I mean, what are you going to do in the next one year diminish the mentally retarded action of this guy?
KAMALA HARRIS: [Laughs] Well said. [Laughs.] Well said.
BRENNAN: I played that so people could judge for themselves. What was she laughing at?
JAMAL SIMMONS (Hill.TV): You know, it was a bad moment. I think her campaign would have come off better if she said after this, “You know what? I reacted poorly to that. I wish I hadn't, instead of saying she hadn't heard it.” But that’s what happens in campaigns. Campaigns have bad moments.
CBS This Morning
07:13 a.m. Eastern
ED O’KEEFE: It was a rough weekend for Harris who had to apologize after a man attending one of her town halls called President Trump's actions mentally retarded. She responded with --
KAMALA HARRIS: [Laughs] Well said. [Laughs.] Well said.
ED O’KEEFE: Harris later told CBCN Caitlin Huey Burns she didn't hear the man's full comments.
HARRIS: It was not something that I really heard or processed or, you know, or in any way condone, that's for sure.
ABC's The View
11:02 a.m. Eastern
[Clip of incident]
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Could she have handled it better? Was this a rookie mistake? I guess I should explain to people, saying the word mentally retarded as a derogatory — in a derogatory fashion is a no-no. And really saying it at all is a no-no, and I guess people don't realize that. So maybe if you want to — if you don't like somebody's policies or something, maybe call them boneheaded or ridiculous or [ bleeped . There are things to be said outside of that. We have been told not to say it more than once. So was this a rookie mistake?
JOY BEHAR: Well, she claims that she didn't hear it. The guy had an accent. It's possible that she misunderstood what he said. It's possible, and, you know, unhinged, we could call Donald, incompetent.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: There's a lot of stuff.
ABBY HUNTSMAN: I personally feel like we are in a race to bring back the soul of this country.
ABBY HUNTSMAN: I want character back again so whether it's calling Trump names or whether it's a rookie mistake or not, I think this was a moment for her to show her character, and it reminded me of a time when your dad was running, Meghan and a moment I don't think any of us will forget when someone was saying rude things about Obama. He said, no. Don't say that. Obama is a decent man. We have to look at our political leaders. Do we want them to be examples for us and our children coming up?
BEHAR: That example was — it was true. Obama is a decent man. This guy is not. The truth shall set you free.
SUNNY HOSTIN: I think that certainly she said either I didn't hear it or I didn't process it, and that sometimes happens that, you know, you wish you would have responded in a better way, be you I think she's getting so much flak for not handling it in a way — handling it a better way, but all of these candidates have had these gaffes, especially Joe Biden. He gets a pass all the time for these gaffes. Donald Trump gets a pass all the time.
BEHAR: Donald Trump made fun physically of a handicapped person.
HUNTSMAN: That doesn’t make it right though.
HOSTIN: She's the only candidate that has a real plan for people with disabilities and she had that — she rolled that out last month, and so I think it's sort of, you know, to not give this candidate a pass — not a pass, but to — she's getting so much flak for words that she didn't even say. I think it says a lot about where we are in this — in this race right now because the men get passes every single time.