WASHINGTON — A quick quip about President Barack Obama, the Bible and, well, numbered days at the beginning of U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s speech before social conservatives Friday prompted swift and vicious reprimands on social media.
First, here’s what Perdue told the few hundred people in the audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference before transitioning into his boilerplate speech on the impending debt and defense crises:
“I think we are called to pray. I think we’re called to pray for our country, for our leaders and yes, even for our president. In his role as president I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray. We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says, ‘Let his days be few, and let another have his office.”
The joke — coincidentally told in a hotel facing the neighborhood in which the Obamas will live after leaving the White House in January — prompted laughs and applause from the crowd before Perdue continued on to talk about the debt. Check out a video of his remarks here courtesy of C-SPAN.
But the remarks were quick to draw reprimands on Twitter, particularly in regard to the lines that follow Psalms 109:8:
“May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.”
Democrats and a few token Republicans quickly seized upon Perdue’s remarks. Here’s what Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s, D-Nev., top spokesman had to say:
Many called for apologies, including Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Michael Smith, who issued this scathing statement:
“Earlier this week, we learned that Senator Perdue didn’t have the constitution to take a stand against Donald Trump’s racist remarks. Now, we’re getting a clearer picture of the kind of petty, vile politician he really his. Joking about the death of the President of the United States is contemptible and beneath the office of a United States Senator. Senator Perdue should apologize immediately—not only to President Obama, but to the people of Georgia. These comments have brought shame upon our state, and certainly do not reflect our values.”
Caroline Vanvick, a spokeswoman for Perdue, sent out the following response:
“Senator Perdue said we are called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and for our president. He in no way wishes harm towards our president and everyone in the room understood that. However, we should add the media to our prayer list because they are pushing a narrative to create controversy and that is exactly what the American people are tired of.”
Perdue is not the first to evoke that very psalm while discussing Obama. The Christian Science Monitor wrote about it in 2009.