Georgia Sen. David Perdue, the state’s senior senator, appeared to intentionally mispronounce fellow Sen. Kamala Harris’ name during a rally for President Donald Trump on Friday, drawing a rebuke from the Democratic vice-presidential nominee’s spokesperson, who denounced the remarks as ”incredibly racist.”
“Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” Perdue, a Republican, said at a rally for Trump in Macon, Georgia.
Perdue, one of Trump’s closest allies, and Harris have served together for years in the Senate.
“Well, that is incredibly racist,” tweeted Sabrina Singh, Harris’ press secretary. “Vote him out and vote for @ossoff.”
Her first name is pronounced “KAH’-mah-lah” – or, as she explains in her biography, “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark.”
Perdue is in a hotly contested race for re-election. His Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, tweeted out a video clip of the mangling of Harris’ name, and said “We are so much better than this.”
“Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague. And everyone knows it,” Ossoff added in a later tweet.
Perdue campaign’s spokesman, John Burke, said in a text message.”Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.”
“He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she and her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing,” Burke added.
Trump frequently attacks Harris — the first Black and Indian-American woman to be nominated to join a major party ticket — calling her a “monster” and referring to her by her first name.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are among the top Republicans who have repeatedly mispronounced it. A few Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have said it incorrectly, too.
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