Senator David Perdue snatched a Georgia Tech student’s phone from their hands on Saturday, and people are pretty outraged.
When visiting the Atlanta campus to attend a campaign event for Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp, Perdue was questioned by a GT member of Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) about voter suppression in Georgia.
Kemp has recently become the subject of scrutiny, after an Associated Press report indicated that 53,000 voter registrations are sitting in limbo within Kemp’s office — most of these belong to black voters and other minorities.
Democratic opponent Stacey Adams accused Kemp of using voter suppression as an intimidation and fear-mongering tactic that “is as much about terrifying people about trying to vote as it is about actually blocking their ability to do so.”
So, Perdue, when questioned about Kemp’s actions on Saturday, decided the best (and most mature) course of action wasn’t to have a conversation, but to grab the questioner’s phone from their hands.
YDSA posted a video of the moment to Twitter, which was captured on the phone. Just before snatching the phone, Perdue says “No, I’m not doing that,” in response to the student’s questions.
Then, with the student’s phone in his hand, Perdue says, “You wanted a picture. I’m going to give it to you.”
“Give me my phone back, Senator,” the student asks multiple times.
YSDA described the incident as “shocking, appalling, and totally unbecoming of the supposedly hallowed office of US Senator.” The group told Mashable the student was considering filing a campus police report.
“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. 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,” YDSA said in a statement.
Perdue’s action royally pissed off people on Twitter, some who pointed out the potential repercussions if the situation had been reversed.
“Had the situation today been the other way around, and if the Georgia Tech student had snatched a sitting US Senator’s phone, the student would likely have been arrested on the spot,” YDSA said in their statement.
There were calls for the student to press charges against the Senator for theft, even though Perdue eventually returned the phone.
Isn’t that theft and possible assault?
— Angelina Thompson (@eangelina64) October 14, 2018
Pretty sure .. um .. that’s illegal.
— Vote Dem November 6th (@michael_j_bravo) October 14, 2018
It doesn’t stop being robbery because you give the proceeds of the crime back.
File a criminal complaint. You’ve even got video evidence.
— J Rollins (@jlrjd5000) October 14, 2018
Did he press charges ? Student should absolutely do that.
— Traci Garceau (@TraciLGarceau) October 14, 2018
Others were simply disappointed in the Senator’s actions.
A sitting US Senator did this? Not a state senator or county party chair, a sitting US Senator!
— Clinton Pope (@clintonpope) October 14, 2018
disgusting and sad. This man is not entitled to act like this. He works for the people, not the other way around.
— Indigo- Artist (@IndigoTheArtist) October 14, 2018
Perdue is yet to issue a public response.