Even Republicans are speaking out about a controversial column from longtime conservative icon Peggy Noonan.
Noonan has faced significant backlash after writing a lengthy opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal bashing vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris for dancing during campaign rallies, something President Donald Trump has been seen doing as well.
“She’s dancing with drum lines and beginning rallies with 'Wassup, Florida!' She’s throwing her head back and laughing a loud laugh, especially when nobody said anything funny. She’s the younger candidate going for the younger vote, and she’s going for a Happy Warrior vibe, but she’s coming across as insubstantial, frivolous. When she started to dance in the rain onstage, in Jacksonville, Fla., to Mary J. Blige’s ‘Work That,’ it was embarrassing,” Noonan wrote over the weekend.
Knowing she would be courting controversy with her words, Noonan added that “apparently you’re not allowed to say these things because she’s a woman.” The rest of the column features other criticisms and calls for more seriousness from Harris.
MSNBC host Nicole Wallace, who spent years as the White House communications director for former President George W. Bush, said she revered Noonan growing up and was inspired to work for the Republican Party because of her but was troubled by her remarks.
"To hear her take out her very skilled cudgel and smash it against a woman who has broken the kinds of barriers that every one of us has faced, Peggy too, is searing for me," Wallace said during a discussion with Karine Jean-Pierre, campaign chief of staff for Harris.
"When you’re a white woman and Republican, there's just certain stuff culturally that you don’t know jack bleep about... This, to me, felt tone-deaf and nasty and it felt personal and it felt bitchy," Wallace unloaded on Noonan further after the segment ended.
Wallace's criticism follows days of backlash to Noonan's words, which came right as TikTok exploded with memes of people copying the dances Trump does at his rallies.
People online noted the racial implications of the specific terms Noonan used like "Wassup" and the reference to Mary J. Blige.
"Peggy Noonan with her kinda racist mean nasty ole lady vibe," longtime journalist Soledad O'Brien wrote on Twitter as others commented with disgust.
Noonan has a long history of racism toward Black political candidates. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, journalist Jonathan Capehart referenced another column Noonan wrote for The Wall Street Journal about then-President Barack Obama.
“He is not a devil, an alien, a socialist. He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser,” Noonan wrote in 2011, right before Obama won reelection.
There is a long history of Black politicians in the United States facing an array of racially-targeted attacks. Just this summer, Harris and other Black women angling to be Joe Biden's running mate were hit with insults from the media as well as members of both parties.
Akin to Noonan's column, people within Biden's own selection committee criticized Harris publicly for being too ambitious, an accusation almost never levied against any male politician. One Republican mayor in Virginia said Biden was announcing "Aunt Jemima as his VP pick" and Fox News let host Tucker Carlson unleash an astonishingly bigoted tirade against Harris, Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams and Congresswoman Karen Bass.
But during a livestream conversation for the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference in August, Harris told the group not to let the attacks sway you.
"There will be a resistance to your ambition, there will be people who say to you, 'you are out of your lane.' They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don't you let that burden you," Harris said.