The U.S. Senate’s top Democrat is apologizing after using the word “retarded” during a recent interview.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., used the term during an interview over the weekend with the One NYCHA podcast while speaking about community pushback to housing initiatives aimed at helping the homeless and other populations.

“When I first was assemblyman, they wanted to build a congregate living place for retarded children. The whole neighborhood was against it,” Schumer said of his experience many years ago as a state legislator in New York.

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“These are harmless kids. They just needed some help,” the senator continued. “We got it done. Took a while.”

A spokesman for Schumer said that he erred in using the term “retarded,” which is considered offensive by many with developmental disabilities.

“For decades, Sen. Schumer has been an ardent champion for enlightened policy and full funding of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” the spokesman said in a statement. “He used an inappropriate and outdated word in his description of an effort he supported that was led by the AHRC to build a group home in his Brooklyn district decades ago to provide housing and services to children with developmental disabilities. He is sincerely sorry for his use of the outdated and hurtful language.”

Federal legislation passed in 2010 replacing “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government.

Nonetheless, a 2017 poll found that use of the word “retard” remained commonplace in America and many respondents saw nothing wrong with it.