Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen made a reference to slavery in a tweet condemning former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s recent comments about President Obama.
Giuliani’s assertion at a political dinner earlier this week that “Obama does not love America” did not sit well with Cohen, who represents a majority African-American district in Memphis.
The “3/5” in Cohen’s tweet is a reference is to the Three-Fifths Compromise reached in 1787 between Northern states and Southern states. The deal allowed Southern states to count slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of congressional representation and taxation.
The implication is that the Republican Giuliani views Obama as a fraction of a man, much as slaves were viewed in the 18th and 19th century.
Cohen’s comment is the strongest condemnation yet of Giuliani’s remarks, which have been hotly debated since he made them in front of a conservative audience Wednesday night. (RELATED: Rudy Giuliani Says ‘A Horrible Thing’ About President Obama)
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said at the event, in which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was also in attendance. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Giuliani said after the event that he was frustrated by Obama’s refusal to directly name Islam in his remarks about terrorism.
The White House denounced Giuliani’s comments on Thursday. Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz saying that Giuliani’s comment “was a horrible thing to say.”