Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern’s diarrhea of the mouth strikes again.
We’ve talked about the possibility of Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune entering the race to challenge Ed Fitzgerald in the Democratic Primary for governor. The Plain Dealer’s Henry Gomez published an analysis of Portune’s status at this point, which included a telephone interview with Redfern.
Redfern is of course very unhappy with Portune for daring to challenge Fitzgerald. But what he said about Portune today is absolutely disgusting.
Portune previously has been treated for spinal tumors, and he still needs crutches to walk. Redfern appeared to insult Portune because of his disability.
“You’ve heard of trust falls,” said Redfern, referring to the team-building exercise where one person falls backward, relying on others in the group to catch him or her. “Todd would have to make sure that he has four or five people standing behind him. Don’t just show up and think that everybody is going to carry you around on their shoulders.”
What a mean-spirited, nasty thing to say.
Chairman Redfern, you owe Todd Portune, and disabled people everywhere, a big apology.
UPDATE: Henry Gomez told me he isn’t convinced that Redfern was intentionally directing his comments about Portune to his disability.
I have my doubts, but since Gomez is the one who actually spoke to Redfern on the phone, Gomez’s opinion merits some credit.
Even if Gomez is right, Redfern’s comments were still in extremely poor taste. Telling a disabled person who uses crutches that he will need several people standing behind him in case he falls, and not to expect to be carried around, is a very insensitive and classless remark.