Perdue ‘Didn’t Mean Anything By’ Mocking ‘Kamala-mala-mala’

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) participates in the vice presidential debate against U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the University of Utah on Octob... SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - OCTOBER 07: Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) participates in the vice presidential debate against U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The vice presidential candidates only meet once to debate before the general election on November 3. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The reelection campaign for Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) is responding to criticism of what some have called a willfully racist move — claiming that the Georgia senator on Friday “didn’t mean anything by” what looked like a purposeful mispronunciation of the first name of the senator’s colleague of nearly four years, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

Perdue, who serves on the Senate Budget Committee with Harris, appeared to mock his Senate colleague’s name when ahead of Trump’s speech at a rally in Macon, Georgia, he referred to the vice presidential candidate as “Kamala, -mala, -mala, I don’t know, whatever,” to jeers of laughter from the crowd.

The nominee’s press secretary, Sabrina Singh, swiftly condemned the move to mock Harris’ name calling it “incredibly racist” in a tweet on Friday.

But Perdue’s campaign has rebuffed complaints in a statement on Friday saying the lawmaker had “simply mispronounced Sen. Harris’s name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.”

Kamala is pronounced “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark,” the California senator has previously said.

“He knows her name,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) chimed in on Saturday in a tweet rebuking Perdue’s butchered pronunciation of his colleague’s name. “There are only 100 of us. And he thinks he can get by with this.”

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Helen Kalla called the response from Perdue’s campaign a “trash cleanup that literally no one believes” in a Friday tweet, later noting that Perdue had served along Harris in the Senate since 2017. 

“He knows her name and he knows how to say it,” Kalla said, adding: “His disgusting performance today is nothing more than a desperate dog whistle from a losing politician who was already caught running anti-Semitic ads against Jon Ossoff.”

Perdue previously came under fire for an anti-Semitic move — depicting Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff with a digitally altered nose in an ad that was later removed from Facebook by Perdue’s campaign. A campaign spokeswoman called the distorted image “accidental” in what has become a common excuse for race-baiting and anti-Semitic attacks.

Chair of Georgia’s Democratic Party, Nikema Williams went a step further when she suggested that Perdue owed voters in the state an apology for what she also contended was a deliberate mispronunciation of the Democratic vice presidential nominee’s name.

“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,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly mispronounced the vice presidential nominee’s name while conservative commentators following that lead have often claimed to do so by mistake.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson — who on his Friday show appeared to question the necessity of disavowing white supremacy — snapped at a guest when he was corrected for mispronouncing Harris’ name shortly after Biden revealed the California senator as his running mate claiming he had done so “unintentionally.”

“So it begins, you’re not allowed to criticize Kuh-MAH-la Harris, or CA-muh-la, or whatever,” Carson said in August. He has since repeatedly attacked the senator on the basis of her race and gender, as she takes the spotlight as the first Black and South Asian-American woman to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket.


Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Macaca 2.0 for Perdue. It has made the national news and local news in GA. Every POC with a non Anglo name has heard intentional butchering of their names since they were kids. They all know racism when they hear it. These racists think they’re so damn clever but they’re dopes. Pretty dumb for Perdue to do this in a state whose electorate projects to be 40%-42% non-white.

  2. Fuck you, Sonny. You were going to lose anyway, but now it’s your own stupidity that locked it.

  3. Kamala, -mala, -mala, I don’t know, whatever


  4. Tucker, or Fucker, or whatever his name is, said what now?

  5. There’s 2 Purdue’s from Georgia. One is Sonny Perdue , he’s the Sec of Agriculture and the other is David Perdue, who is one of the Senator’s from Georgia!
    Both as crooked as you can get!

Continue the discussion at

243 more replies


Avatar for austin_dave Avatar for ghost Avatar for marincousa Avatar for littlegirlblue Avatar for fargo116 Avatar for eggrollian Avatar for cervantes Avatar for psudawnc Avatar for tacoma Avatar for bonvivant Avatar for generalsternwood Avatar for thunderclapnewman Avatar for tena Avatar for jinnj Avatar for presidentlindsay Avatar for edgarant Avatar for Anarchy_Bunker Avatar for eddycollins Avatar for brian512 Avatar for counterlife Avatar for rascal_crone Avatar for emiliano4 Avatar for Hatmama Avatar for Ethics_Gradient

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: