Republicans pounced on a tweet by the Connecticut Democratic Party that drew a comparison of a Black Republican candidate to the cartoon monkey Curious George.
The party attacked George Logan, a GOP candidate in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, for allegedly not living in the district.
In the tweet, the party mimicked the Curious George books’ “This is George” format to describe Mr. Logan. This drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats for being racially insensitive.
“For a party that claims to be open and inclusive, this sort of tweet, which was also retweeted by my opponent Jahana Hayes, certainly comes across as racially motivated,” Mr. Logan said, referring to the Democratic incumbent in the district.
The full tweet, which has since been taken down, read: “This is George. George doesn’t live in the 5th District but wants to represent it in Congress. George’s uncle lives in the 5th District. George says he’s moved into his uncle’s house. But has he? Just run where you live, George. Deceiving voters is no way to start a campaign.”
The tweet also featured a photo of Mr. Logan in front of a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.
The tweet mirrored similar language used in the Curious George books: “This is George. He was a good little monkey and always very curious.”
Ben Proto, Connecticut GOP Party chairman, called the tweet “clearly racist” and proved a double standard between Democratic and Republican messaging on race.
“They’re comparing an African American and Latino man to a monkey,” Mr. Pronto told CT News Junkie.
Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, said the tweet was not a reference to Curious George and accused Republicans of making racist accusations only when it benefits them.
“The Connecticut Republicans have no opinion about actual racism in their ranks; about demanding that schools stop teaching the history of slavery, about the murderous violence incited by the persistent discussion of replacement theory, but they are finding racism where there is none,” Ms. DiNardo said.
Mrs. Hayes, who initially retweeted the tweet, has since taken it down and apologized for doing so, adding that she did not mean for it to be interpreted as a racial attack.
“I find it hard to believe anyone, acting in good faith, could interpret my retweet as stoking racial animus against another African American. That does not benefit me, my campaign, or this district in any way. I do not participate in that kind of behavior and never have. I do, however, understand perception and my opponent being offended is good enough for me. I apologize and will delete the tweet,” Mrs. Hayes said.
Rep. Jim Himes, Connecticut Democrat, also condemned the tweet.
“Had the GOP posted it, we’d be condemning it. So let’s do that here: intent matters little, whataboutism is not ok, [and] the purported substance doesn’t matter. Let’s take it down, apologize, and learn,” Mr. Himes tweeted.
According to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, Connecticut’s 5th District is rated as a “likely Democratic” seat.
The state will hold its primaries on Aug. 9.