Former South Carolina Democratic party chairman Dick Harpootlian today attempted to clarify remarks he made Friday at the party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner when he assured the audience that the Democratic challenger to GOP governor Nikki Haley would “send her back to wherever the hell she came from.”
Many understood Harpootlian’s barb to be directed at Haley’s ethnicity — she is the Indian-American daughter of Sikh immigrants. The longtime Democratic activist immediately waved off such criticism, and today told MSNBC, “All I’m suggesting is she needs to go back to being an accountant in a dress store rather than being this fraud of a governor that we have.”
Haley, who was raised in Bamberg, S.C., previously worked in her parents’ clothing business, Exotica International, and took over the bookkeeping there at the age of 13.
Harpootlian is no stranger to controversy. At last year’s Democratic National Convention, he compared Haley to Hitler’s mistress — after she participated in a press conference from a basement television studio at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., Harpootlian said she was “down in the bunker á la Eva Braun.”
He was replaced as chairman of South Carolina’s Democratic party on Friday.