A Baptist minister publicly blasted the state senator who made what the Oklahoma City pastor said were “sexist, misogynistic and racist” remarks about Vice President Kamala Harris.
Rev. Lee Cooper Jr., pastor of the Prospect Baptist Church, was serving his last day on Thursday as a participant in the State Senate’s Chaplain of the Week program when he made the comments rebuking State Sen. Nathan Dahm (Rep., Broken Arrow) for his comments that implied the nation’s first Black woman vice president had slept her way for advancements in politics.
Vice President Harris had been attorney general of California and a California U.S. senator before she was elected to her position last year.
She is also of South Asian descent.
The Black Chronicle reported last week that State Sen. Dahm, who is white, made remarks about the vice president after filing legislation on the use of paper straws.
The state legislator was reported to have made a derisive remark about Vice President Harris, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (Rep., Utah) in a news release regarding his bill.
During a television interview in Tulsa, he made the following comments about Vice President Harris:
“In talking with some people, one thing that could be said is that, you know, you can’t use a paper straw for a milkshake, but maybe Kamala Harris could because of her vast experience.”
When the reporter conducting the interview responded that this was “basically an oral sex implication,” State Sen. Dahm did not deny that’s what he meant, according to the Tulsa World.
Rev. Cooper referred to the Dahm comments as “sexist, misongynyist and racist” when he addressed the State Senate on Thursday.
He said later that Republican state senators walked out the State chambers as the minister spoke.
“You have to speak truth to power,” Rev. Cooper said after the Thursday session.
“I didn’t bring anything into the Senate space that is not already in the public sphere,” the Baptist pastor said.
After Rev. Cooper’s comments, the State Senate was called into executive session.
“His message was fine,” State Sen. George Young Sr. (Dem., Oklahoma City) commented, referring to the Cooper speech.
“No one specifically gave him any directions as to content of his message.”
“He was told to just be civil and use decorum, and I thought he did all that,” State Sen. Young continued.
State Sen. Young is also a Baptist minister.
“What he did was use an example that was public knowledge,” State Sen. Young explained. “Everybody who wants to know knew about what that particular senator had said and the horrible reference that he had made.”
Some have called for State Sen. Dahm to be removed from the Legislature.
Rev. Cooper served as interim city councilman for Ward 7 after the resignation of Councilman John Pettis Jr.