WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Senator David Perdue mocked Kamala Harris, his Senate colleague and Democratic vice presidential candidate, on Friday by repeatedly mispronouncing her name at a rally for President Donald Trump in Georgia.
Perdue concluded at an event in Macon when he described Harris as “KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala Mala Mala? I dont know. Anyway. ”The audience laughed.
A Perdue spokesman said the first-term senator had “nothing to do with it”.
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are among the top Republicans to have mispronounced this repeatedly. Some Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have also said this wrongly.
Harris’ spokeswoman, Sabrina Singh, responded to Perdue’s comment in a tweet: “Well, that’s incredibly racist. Choose him. “In a second tweet she wrote:” He has been her Senate colleague for over three years. 3 years. THREE. Do it better.”
Casey Black, a spokesman for Perdue’s campaign, tweeted that the senator “just mispronounced Sen. Harris’s name.”
“He didn’t mean anything,” wrote Black. “He has made an argument against the radical socialist agenda that you and your endorsed candidate, Jon Ossoff, are promoting.”
Jon Ossoff, who will face Perdue in November, tweeted that his opponent made fun of Sen. Harris’ name and added, “We’re so much better than him.”
Ossoff, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in a 2017 special election, also tweeted a donation message via a video with Perdue’s comments and said in another tweet, “Senator Perdue would never have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague. And everyone knows. “
The Georgian Democratic Party asked Perdue to apologize.
“Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’ name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight out of President Trump’s handbook,” Georgia Democratic Party leader Nikema Williams said in a statement. “He owes the Georgians an apology for his offensive portrayal.”