Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Schumer referred to “homeless” children in his remarks about the congregate living facility “for retarded children.” He used the word “harmless” to refer to the children, not “homeless.”
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, referred to youth as “retarded children” during an interview this weekend.
Schumer made the remarks while speaking with oneNYCHAtv on Sunday as he spoke with the show’s hosts about troubles that lawmakers run into from communities that oppose measures that on the surface sound good.
The show’s female host, Saundrea, talked about opposition from the community to a safe haven that is being built. “This initiative actually will house the homeless population that is actually living on our streets. We see them every day,” she said. “We’re about to house them, and they’re against it. It’s unbelievable.”
“Yeah, I mean it’s, I have found that my whole career,” Schumer responded. “I wanted to build when I first was an Assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children. The whole neighborhood was against it, these are harmless kids. They just needed some help.”
Just prior to making the remarks, Schumer talked about the need to increase funding for “mental health services” and “real mental health counseling.”
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 14, 2021
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT (INCLUDES ADDITIONAL CONTEXT):
FEMALE HOST: So we have a homeless crisis in this country and it has exacerbated. What is Congress going to do for you know, for this crisis, especially with you know, we have the eviction moratoriums that are subject to, you know, expire shortly or soon in like August or something like that, you know, how do we keep people in their homes and in their apartments?
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): First, we got $2 billion to New York State, more around the country, to pay for people’s rents, who lost their, couldn’t pay their rents because of COVID. So they won’t be kicked out, and we won’t have more people, you know, out on the streets. And then we put $5 billion into helping provide some housing for homeless people, including money to take some of these hotels that are now vacant or not filled up, and turn them into sort of congregate good shelters for people and housing. Biden to his credit, once, he put in quite a bit of money for assisted housing, I’m not talking about the 40 billion he put in for public housing that we want 80, but he put another about 150 for to build assisted–, you know, to build affordable housing for people. So we’re starting to do something on that, you know, the homeless crisis. And then there’s one other issue with the homeless crisis, we need more mental health services, a lot of homeless folks have a you know, they have PTSD, because they’re veterans or something like that. But if you had some real mental health counseling, you could do some good there too. So we you know, the bill, the Biden bill, is really, you know, like the AARP bill, is very broad and very comprehensive. And it looks at problems that our society has had for decades, and tries to really for the first time, get its arms around them. Now, I’m going to work hard to pass it. I got some people in my own caucus, you’ve heard some of those names, I won’t mention them here. They begin with an ‘M,’ but who are somewhat resistant, but we’re working on them. And you know, to their credit, every Democrat voted for that big AARP bill, which was the most progressive strongest thing in a long time. This is even better, and we’re working hard to get them on our side. So, but we have some good help for the homeless in their–
FEMALE HOST: That’s good … because we’re building, it should open next year, a safe haven and it’s really a resistance from, some people want it, I’m for it, and there’s some people that are against it. And yet this initiative actually will house the homeless population that is actually living on our streets. We see them every day. We’re about to house them, and they’re against it. It’s unbelievable.
SCHUMER: Yeah, I mean it’s, I have found that my whole career. I wanted to build when I first was an Assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children. The whole neighborhood was against it, these are harmless kids. They just needed some help.
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