(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), campaigning in New Hampshire on Friday, laughed when a man in the audience asked her what she plans to do about the "mentally retarded" man in the White House. "Well said, well said," she responded, laughing.
But when the video went viral, prompting criticism, Harris said she would never "condone that kind of language." And she told a reporter she didn't hear what many consider to be an offensive term.
A man in the audience, who spoke with a heavy accent, asked Harris: "I don't buy that argument that impeachment does not make sense, and like when — I don't buy that argument. There needs to be accountability. I mean, what are you going to do in the next one year to diminish the mentally retarded actions of this guy?"
"Well said. Well said," Harris responded, laughing along with others in the audience. She told the questioner she plans to win the presidential election.
But later, Harris changed her tune when a CBS reporter challenged her for laughing off the question.
"It's an incredibly offensive term," Harris said. "And as someone who has a longstanding relationship with advocacy for our disability community...it's offensive, and you would think that in 2019, people would have a much better understanding of how hurtful a term like that can be."
The reporter noted that Harris didn't correct the audience member. "Did you hear him?" she asked Harris.
"I heard him talk about the other stuff, and then that came later and it was not something that I really heard or processed or in any way condone, that's for sure," Harris said.
Harris also tweeted about the moment on Saturday, writing:
"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."