Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are among the top Republicans who have repeatedly mispronounced it. A few Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, have said it incorrectly, too.
Harris’ spokesperson, Sabrina Singh, responded to Perdue’s remark in a tweet: “Well that is incredibly racist. Vote him out.” In a second tweet, she wrote, “He has been her Senate colleague for over 3 years. 3. Years. THREE. Do better.”
Casey Black, a spokesperson for Perdue’s campaign, tweeted that the senator “simply mispronounced Senator 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.”
Jon Ossoff, who is running against Perdue in November, tweeted that his opponent “mocked Senator Harris’ name,” adding, “We are so much better than this.”
Ossoff, who staged an unsuccessful bid for Congress in a 2017 special election, also tweeted a fundraising message over video of Perdue’s comments and said in another tweet, “Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague. And everyone knows it.”
Georgia’s Democratic Party demanded that Perdue apologise.
“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.”