Conservative pundit and author Ann Coulter has defended calling President Obama a “retard,” saying she doesn’t think the word is offensive despite condemnation from advocates of disabled persons, as well as from liberals and even some fellow conservatives.
Miss Coulter, while speaking with Fox News radio host Alan Colmes on Thursday, laughed off the complaints, saying she doesn’t regret using the word and that “liberal bullies” were behind the backlash.
“Look, no one would refer to a Down’s syndrome child, someone with an actual mental handicap, by saying ‘retard,’ ” she told Mr. Colmes. “Where do you think the words imbecile, idiot, moron, cretin come from? These were all technical terms at one time. Retard has been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years.”
When Mr. Colmes pressed Miss Coulter that many Americans consider the word she used offensive, she pushed back at her critics, saying “screw them.”
“You just cannot go around saying this and that word is offensive. I’m sick of this.”
The controversy stemmed from a comment she posted on Twitter after Monday night’s debate between Mr. Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in which she said; “I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”
Special Olympics athlete John Franklin Stephens, an official ambassador for the games who has Down’s syndrome, penned an open letter taking Miss Coulter to task .
“You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV,” he wrote. “Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.”
Miss Coulter, in responding to the letter, told Mr. Colmes that “I do not need to be told this.”
This isn’t the first time Miss Coulter has gotten into hot water for using the term, employing it in a August tweet to insult MSNBC host Chris Matthews.