Dems Slam GOP Senator for 'Racist Tactic' at Rally

Ga.'s David Perdue mocked Kamala Harris' name at Trump rally
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 17, 2020 5:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Republican Sen. David Perdue mocked Kamala Harris, his Senate colleague and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, on Friday by repeatedly mispronouncing her name at a Georgia rally for President Trump. Perdue was wrapping up his remarks at an event in Macon when he referred to Harris as "KAH'-mah-lah? Kah-MAH'-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don't know. Whatever." The audience laughed, per the AP. A spokesperson for Perdue said the first-term senator "didn't mean anything by it." Harris' political opponents have repeatedly mispronounced her name since she became the first Black woman on a major party ticket, a trend many Democrats say smacks of racism. Her first name is pronounced "KAH'-mah-lah"—or, as she explains in her biography, "'comma-la,' like the punctuation mark."

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Trump and VP Mike Pence are among the top GOPers who've repeatedly mispronounced it. A few Democrats, including former President Obama, have said it incorrectly, too. Harris rep Sabrina Singh responded to Perdue's remark in a tweet: "Well that is incredibly racist. Vote him out." Casey Black, a Perdue campaign rep, tweeted that the senator "simply mispronounced Sen. Harris' name." " He didn’t mean anything by it," Black wrote. "He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she & her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing." Ossoff, running against Perdue in November, tweeted that his opponent "mocked Sen. Harris' name,” adding, "We are so much better than this." "Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris' name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump's handbook," Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, said in a statement, adding, "He owes Georgians an apology."

(Read more David Perdue stories.)

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