On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called out Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, saying she “intentionally mispronounced” his name during a television appearance.
Ramaswamy was responding to a clip from “Real Time with Bill Maher” in which Brazile, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, questioned how to pronounce his name.
From The Hill:
Maher corrected her pronunciation and suggested there’s “a little racism there” when people refuse to learn how to pronounce the candidate’s name correctly.
“Vivek needs to just shut the hell up and go home,” Brazile said in the clip, to some laughter from the studio audience.
“It’s Vivek,” Maher said, correcting her. He later quoted Ramaswamy in saying his name rhymes with “cake.”
“Well, whatever,” Brazile said, before starting another sentence saying his name correctly.
“Whatever?” Maher interjected. “Would you say that about another ethnic—”
ABC News contributor Donna Brazile continually mispronounced @VivekGRamaswamy on Real Time last night.
Bill Maher: "I feel like there's a little racism there." pic.twitter.com/Hyx2RvwQ00
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 18, 2023
Brazile cut off the host and began to pronounce Ramaswamy’s first name correctly before questioning how to say his last name. Maher echoed her correct pronunciation and nodded.
“Thank you so much. I learn so much when I come on this show,” Brazile said, before repeating her initial comment. “Vivek? Vivek needs to go home.”
“I agree. I just feel like there’s something wrong with everybody refusing to learn to say his name. I just feel there’s a little racism there,” Maher said.
“There’s no racism,” Brazile said, adding: “Ramaswamy. I’ll say it; I’ll say it.”
“I know we don’t like him, but, you know, say his name right,” Maher said.
Ramaswamy, who was born in the United States to Indian parents, panned the former DNC head’s remarks on the show.
“I wonder what they’d do if a white Republican intentionally mispronounced Donna’s name & then told her to return ‘home,’” Ramaswamy wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, while sharing a laughing emoji.
I wonder what they’d do if a white Republican intentionally mispronounced Donna’s name & then told her to return “home.” 😂 https://t.co/UIfiSCU6p6
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) November 19, 2023
A spokesperson for Ramaswamy’s campaign also sent The Hill a statement criticizing Brazile’s comments.
“Reverse racism is racism,” the spokesperson said. “If that were a white Republican they would be fired and torn to shreds on cable TV. Donna will probably get an ‘atta boy from her colleagues. Gross and wrong.”
Maher and Ramaswamy weren’t the only ones who thought Brazile’s comments were racist.
Florida Congressional candidate Laverne Spencer called out Brazile on X, formerly Twitter.
“Donna Brazile told Vivek to go back home to where he came from. He was born here in America so you need to cut that noise, heifer. Why doesn’t your Black ass go back to where you came from?” She wrote.
Donna Brazile told Vivek to go back home to where he came from.
He was born here in America so you need to cut that noise, heifer.
Why doesn’t your Black ass go back to where you came from?
— Lavern Spicer 🇺🇸 (@lavern_spicer) November 19, 2023
“The hypocrisy is glaring! Donna Brazile belittles Vivek Ramaswamy, an American-born citizen, suggesting he ‘return home’ to India. This is the true face of left-wing elitism, casually racist while pretending to champion diversity. Pathetic display of double standards!” another user wrote.
The hypocrisy is glaring! Donna Brazile belittles Vivek Ramaswamy, an American-born citizen, suggesting he 'return home' to India.
This is the true face of left-wing elitism, casually racist while pretending to champion diversity.
Pathetic display of double standards! pic.twitter.com/YiqNtwhie8
— Frank (@FrankChronicles) November 19, 2023