John Kilclooney, former deputy leader of Northern Ireland’s Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), has sparked outrage after referring to U.S. vice president-elect Kamala Harris as “the Indian”.
“What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?” Lord Kilclooney tweeted on Monday morning.
Politicians have slammed the tweet both in the U.K. and overseas as “racist.”
“Language like this reducing people to racial heritage is unfit for a member of the Lords,” Navendu Mishra, a Labour MP for Stockport, tweeted.
Kilclooney responded to the backlash by saying that he had not “known her name yet”.
“She is totally new to me. Now I know it is Harris. Biden is proud to be Irish and Harris to be Indian. Both have every right to do so,” he responded to a critic. “I deplore some media describing her as being black,” he added. “Colour racism should not be introduced!”
This is not the first time Harris has faced this particularly moronic brand of ridicule.
During a rally for President Trump last month, Georgia Sen. David Perdue mocked Harris’ birth name on stage. “KAH’-mah-lah? Kah-MAH’-lah? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever,” he said.
Trump also made a point of mispronouncing Harris’ name at a recent Florida campaign rally. “By the way, Ka-MAHH-lahh will not be your first female president,” he said as the crowd cheered him on.
Harris will be the first Black, South Asian and Caribbean woman to serve in America’s second-highest office.
While the election of Vice President-elect Joe Biden is a step towards the nation reversing some of the damage caused by the Trump administration, it’s clear the good ol’ boys of politics have no intention of playing fair.