Republican senator David Perdue, who is running for reelection in his home state of Georgia, inadvertently boosted his rival’s campaign after mocking Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
While speaking at a rally for Donald Trump last week, Mr Perdue butchered Ms Harris’s first name multiple times, saying, “Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.”
Afterward, the Georgia senator’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, said his campaign raked in nearly $2 million in donations. Mr Ossoff tweeted on Saturday that his campaign raised $1 million after Mr Perdue “disgraced himself with bigoted mockery of Kamala’s name.” By Sunday night, that number had almost doubled, with his campaign saying it had raised a total of $1.8 million from Mr Perdue’s viral moment.
Mr Ossoff further called out his opponent’s remarks on Twitter, saying, “We are so much better than this.” He added in another tweet, “Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague. And everyone knows it.”
The incident drew heaps of backlash across social media. On Twitter, the #MyNameIs hashtag started trending over the weekend as users shared the meaning of their names in solidarity with Ms Harris.
Ms Harris has not directly responded to the incident, but her husband, Doug Emhoff, took a shot at Mr Perdue at a campaign event in Georgia on Sunday. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr Emhoff told the crowd, “Let me help what’s-his-face pronounce this: M-V-P. If he can’t remember her name, how about Madam Vice President?”
Mr Perdue’s campaign has claimed the mispronunciation of the California senator’s name was not intended as mockery. He and Ms Harris have been colleagues in the Senate since 2017.
Meanwhile, Nikema Williams, Democratic Party of Georgia chairwoman, told NBC News, “Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’s name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump’s handbook. He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display.”
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