Republican Senator David Perdue repeatedly mispronounced the name of his Senate colleague and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris while speaking at President Trump's rally in Georgia on Friday night. The senator quickly drew criticism for his comment, which Harris' press secretary described as "incredibly racist."
As Perdue ended his remarks at the event, he referred to Harris as "KAH'-mah-lah? Kah-MAH'-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don't know. Whatever."
A spokesperson for Perdue defended his remarks, tweeting that he "simply mispronounced Sen. Harris' name," and that he "didn't mean anything by it."
"He was making an argument against the radical socialist agenda that she & her endorsed candidate Jon Ossoff are pushing," the spokesperson added.
Harris' press secretary responded to that tweet by calling Perdue's remarks "racist."
"Well that is incredibly racist. Vote him out," she wrote, adding, "He has been her Senate colleague for over 3 years. 3. Years. THREE. Do better."
Harris is the first Black woman and first individual of South Asian descent to accept a major party's vice presidential nomination. Political opponents of Harris, including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, have repeatedly mispronounced her name.
Her first name is pronounced "KAH'-mah-lah" — or, as she explains in her biography, "'comma-la,' like the punctuation mark."
Perdue's opponent Jon Ossoff, tweeted that his rival "mocked Sen. Harris' name," adding, "We are so much better than this."
Ossoff announced on Saturday that his campaign had raised $1 million overnight.
"Folks! We've raised $1M (!) since my opponent disgraced himself with bigoted mockery of Kamala's name at yesterday's Trump rally," Ossoff wrote on Twitter.
Georgia's Democratic Party urged Perdue to apologize.
"Senator Perdue's intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris's 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. "He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display."