Senator David Perdue appeared to be deliberately mocking the first name of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris at a rally for President Donald Trump in Georgia on Friday.
At the Macon rally, Perdue, R-Ga., Pronounced Harris’ name as, “Kamala or Kamala, Kamala-Mala-Mala, I don’t know,” with different emphasis on parts of the name as the video showed.
Perdue made the comments when he named Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority chairman, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and others when he attacked so-called “radical socialism”
Perdue was elected to the Senate in 2014 and serves in Congress with Harris, who was elected in 2016.
Jon Ossoff, Perdue’s Democratic Senate opponent, tweeted that Perdue “made fun of Harris’s name,” adding, “We’re so much better than this one.”
John Burke, Perdue’s director of communications for campaigns, said in a statement that he “simply mispronounced Senator Harris’s name and meant nothing”.
“He argued against the radical socialist agenda that she and her endorsed candidate, Jon Ossoff, are pushing. This includes the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, tax hikes and maintaining COVID aid to the people of Georgia.” Said Burke.
Harris is the first black South Asian American woman to stand as Vice President in US history.
Perdue spoke in the warm-up before Trump took the stage for a rally speech, which lasted approximately an hour and 45 minutes.
Nikema Williams, leader of the Democratic Party of Georgia, criticized Perdue, calling the mispronunciation deliberate.
“Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’ name is a bigoted and racist tactic that came straight from President Trump’s handbook,” she said. “He owes the Georgians an apology for his offensive portrayal.”
Perdue was criticized in July for a digital ad with a manipulated image of the Jewish Ossoff with an enlarged nose.
The ad has been removed. A spokeswoman for Perdue said in a statement at the time that it was an “accidental mistake” by an external provider without naming the provider, The Associated Press reported.
Ossoff appeared to be referring to it in his tweet, denouncing Perdue’s statements on Harris’ name, referring to him as “GOP Senator David Perdue for anti-Semitic attacks and disgrace”.
When the ad went down, the Perdue spokeswoman said: “Anyone who implies this was anything but an accidental mistake is deliberately misrepresenting Senator Perdue’s strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred . “