Republican senator David Perdue grabbed a phone out of a student’s hand just for asking him a question—and people are fired up about it.
The incident occurred this weekend at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta where the Senator was attending an event to show his support for Republican gubernational nominee Brian Kemp.
According to HuffPost, Kemp recently came under scrutiny when the Associated Press reported that prior to the midterm elections, his office suppressed 53,000 voter registrations—70 percent of them belonging to African Americans.
When a student, and member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), approached Perdue at the event to ask how he could support someone accused of voter suppression, the Senator quickly snatched the phone out of his hand saying:
No, I’m not doing that.
The student—who captured the incident on video and later posted it on Twitter—can be heard asking for his phone back several times as the Senator says, “You wanted a picture. I’m going to give it to you” before handing back the phone.
YDSA has subsequently condemned the Senator’s actions:
Today @sendavidperdue visited Tech to campaign for Kemp. A student tried asking a simple question about @BrianKempGA ‘s racist scheme to threaten voter registrations from black people, but before he could even finish the question, Perdue stole his phone. pic.twitter.com/K0iffU57Di
— YDSA Georgia Tech (@YDSAGT) October 13, 2018
While @sendavidperdue campaigns in public for his endorsed candidate, he won’t acknowledge questions or criticisms, fleeing instead. He won’t even try to defend @BrianKempGA ‘s actions because he knows its indefensible.
What is it Republicans say about university “Safe Spaces”?
— YDSA Georgia Tech (@YDSAGT) October 13, 2018
Here is the video via YouTube:
Commenters online were angered by the Senator’s actions:
@sendavidperdue shame on you. You are an elected public servant. You work for the people. Behavior like that is grounds for firing. The midterms are almost here.
— Zoey’s Dad (@TakenKobates) October 15, 2018
David Perdue is a national disgrace. Brian Kemp is a racist regressive who should resign immediately for repeatedly suppressing minority voters throughout his tenure as Secretary of State.
— andrew (@haney8604) October 14, 2018
@sendavidperdue is yet another example of elitist politicians who should be purged form office.
— DJ (@DeathChord13) October 14, 2018
What’s going on with some peple (GOP) that they are using physical attacks to defend or excuse themselves. It’s not acceptable…. we are hitting bottom
— Flor Goldston (@FioredGoldston) October 14, 2018
Many pointed out how things would’ve been different had the roles been reversed:
If someone had snatched the senators phone they would have found themselves on the ground with a knee on their back, followed by a quick trip to jail. Why is @sendavidperdue allowed to get away with this @FBI?
— Kymmi B (@BaumanKym) October 14, 2018
If the roles were reversed and the student grabbed Perdue’s phone, the student would have been arrested on the spot.
Sen. Perdue snatched student’s phone after asked about voter registration scandal https://t.co/OCNdHMjMwk
— Thomas Reich (@gollum1419_g) October 14, 2018
The Senator’s office later called the incident a “misunderstanding.”
In a statement, they said:
The senator clearly thought he was being asked to take a picture, and he went to take a selfie as he often does.
But no one on Twitter seemed to agree:
Isn’t that theft and possible assault?
— Angelina Thompson (@eangelina64) October 14, 2018
Press charges. What are you waiting for. That’s theft. It doesn’t matter length of time kept, all that matters is that it was taken initially.
— TRUMP FOR TREASON (@StopDaGOP) October 13, 2018
Some commenters made pointed comments about the irony of the Senator’s behavior based on how conservatives often characterize liberals:
And they are saying we aren’t civil. The R’s really need to take a good look in a mirror.
— Marilyn Mangan (@mangan_marilyn) October 14, 2018
And Dems are the “angry mob?” Yeah right… it started with Trump and every R has followed his lead…
— ((( joyce ))) (@joycefromli) October 14, 2018
Hopefully, the backlash will cause Senator Perdue to think twice before grabbing someone else’s property in the future.
In summation, Twitter users Bindle Williams and Jack Newman offer these thoughts:
Just shows how desperate and scared @SenateGOP are.
— Bindle Williams (@bindleW) October 14, 2018
These gutless, yellow, cowardly shells of men, run and hide from the light of truth like roaches from a kitchen light being switched on.
— Jack Newman (@JackJoseyNewman) October 15, 2018