Co-chairs of the Bipartisan House Disabilities Caucus denounced a sign at an Organizing For Action rally Tuesday that read "Thanks Tea-Tards." The event, held on the steps of the Capitol, aimed to push House Republicans to end the government shutdown and avoid default.
The caucus co-chairs, Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.), both said the sign was inappropriate and offensive.
"It is a frustrating time in Washington right now, but I find it really unfortunate that this offensive slur was used to characterize anyone," Langevin told BuzzFeed. "As co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, I am a firm supporter of the campaign to end the 'R word.'"
"President Obama needs to call out his supporters at the DNC and OFA for condoning this insensitive and hurtful message during their protest," added Larry Farnsworth, a Terry spokesman.
The nonprofit OFA formed after President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection, with the task of advocating for the president's agenda. The group responded to the controversy after BuzzFeed published its story.
"We neither support nor approve of the inappropriate language used in a sign on the mall today," an OFA official told BuzzFeed. "OFA believes that John Boehner should stand up to the extreme wing in his party, pay their bills and end this now."
The OFA rally at the Capitol was attended by about a dozen protesters, according to reports. It was one of many similar rallies OFA has planned across the country. Participants in Tuesday's rally included furloughed federal employees and tourists who happened upon the protest, according to Politico.
The National Review reported that the group later moved from the Capitol steps to the West Lawn to distance itself from a man wielding a sign joking about cannibalism.
The "tea-tard" sign is the latest protest mishap to distract from a demonstration's purpose. Over the weekend, a conservative protester outside the White House attracted attention for waving a confederate flag during a rally.