Georgia Democratic Senate Candidate Jon Ossoff said he raised nearly $2 million after his opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue, butchered Sen. Kamala Harris’ name at a Donald Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, according to The Hill.
Perdue addressed the crowd Friday and said, “Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I do not know. Whatever.” Perdue’s campaign said that the mispronunciation of Harris’s name was not intended to mock the vice-presidential candidate, The Hill reported.
Perdue also denied that he intended to intentionally butcher Harris’s name, telling reporters that he meant “absolutely no disrespect” toward her, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“My role in this is to point out the differences in what their agenda is and what our agenda is,” Perdue said. “A lot of Democrats will do or say anything right now to hide their radical, socialist agenda.”
As of Sunday evening, Ossoff’s campaign said he raised more than $1.8 million from at least 42,000 donors, according to the AJC. (REALATED: Georgia Senator Removes Allegedly Anti-Semitic Ad Against Jewish Challenger Jon Ossoff)
Doug Emhoff, Harris’s husband, took issue with the pronunciation of his wife’s name during his stop in Georgia.
“Let me help what’s-his-face pronounce this: M-V-P,” Emhoff said. “If he cannot remember her name, how about Madam Vice President?”
Georgia Democrats say that Perdue’s remarks are not only disrespectful but racist as well, the AJC reported. The 2018 Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Stacey Abrams accused Perdue of using “racist tropes” and Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams referred to it as a “bigoted and racist tactic” that he borrowed from President Trump.
Twitter backlash, from politicians and others, was brought on as a result of Perdue’s remark. Many users tweeted out the hashtag #MyNameIs to show the meaning of their names, to go along with criticism of the Georgia Senator.
#MyNameIs Ayanna Soyini Pressley. My mother, may she rest in power, gave me this name which means beautiful flower in Swahili. She told me I’d make history and the world would learn how to say it right. https://t.co/H9joGm8akh
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) October 17, 2020
Republicans came to Perdue’s defense, saying the mispronunciation of her name was not as big of a deal as it has since been made out to be, the AJC reported. Veteran GOP Strategist Brandon Philips, who was formerly Trump’s Georgia campaign director, was in the front row of the Trump rally when he heard Perdue attempt to say Harris’s name.
“It was such a fleeting moment, it did not even register until later when I saw the media and the left trying to make a mountain out of a molehill,” Philips said. “Talk about a nothing burger. I am glad Ossoff is raising money from it, though. It is good for our economy; it just will not make him Georgia’s U.S. senator.”
Perdue currently leads Ossoff by one point in the senate race, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.