The bipartisan co-chairs of the House Disabilities Caucus condemned a sign reading “Thank You Tea-Tards” spotted at an Organizing For Action event on Capitol Hill Tuesday. The event was designed to pressure Republican leaders in Congress to abandon the conservative wing of their party, reopen the government, and raise the debt ceiling.
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin said he understood emotions are running high as the clock ticks down to the deadline for default Thursday, but said the sign was out of line.
“It is a frustrating time in Washington right now, but I find it really unfortunate that this offensive slur was used to characterize anyone,” he said. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, I am a firm supporter of the campaign to end the ‘R word.’ It is derogatory and counter to the acceptance and inclusion in society of people with developmental disabilities.”
Langevin’s Republican co-chair, Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry, called on President Obama to condemn the sign.
“As someone who has worked with and fought for those individuals with special needs, Congressman Terry believes this type of language is despicable and has no place in our nation’s discourse,” said Larry Farnsworth, Terry’s spokesperson. “President Obama needs to call out his supporters at the DNC and OFA for condoning this insensitive and hurtful message during their protest.”
Update: The man holding the sign at the protest, David Roper, tells BuzzFeed he was not affiliated with OFA, nor did OFA know he was going to show the sign he held when he showed up at the group’s protest.