While making an appearance on the campus of Georgia Tech over the weekend to endorse GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp—who, in his current role as Georgia's Secretary of State, is carrying out a racist voter suppression effort ahead of next month's election—Republican Sen. David Perdue angrily snatched the phone of a student who dared to ask his representative why he would back a candidate "who's trying to purge people from voting based on their race."
"No I'm not doing that," Perdue said as he grabbed the student's phone.
Video of the incident—which quickly went viral—was posted on Twitter by the Georgia Tech chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), which said the student is a member. Watch:
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
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In a statement to The Daily Beast on Sunday, YDSA Georgia Tech condemned Perdue's reaction as completely unacceptable.
"Perdue walked into Georgia Tech's backyard, and students aren't allowed to ask him a simple question? It would be one thing to say 'no comment' or inform us he's not taking questions," the group said. "Perdue would have been within his legal rights to simply walk away or decline the question. But instead, he forcibly, suddenly, and violently took their phone without justification or provocation."
"It's abhorrent that when our members ask their senators about the purging of voters within their state, they respond by stealing their phones, dismissing dissent, and ultimately prove that curbing of democracy is how they make capital stay in power," YDSA concluded on Twitter.