Democrat Jon Ossoff tweeted a chicken emoji as he continues to attack his opponent Sen. David Perdue for refusing to take part in a televised debate ahead of the Georgia runoff election.
Ossoff, who is hoping to unseat the incumbent Republican on January 5, accused Perdue of being a "coward" as he debated an empty podium on Sunday night when Perdue rejected an invitation to take part in the event at the Atlanta Press Club.
During the debate, Ossoff attacked Perdue for opposing a new round of $1,200 stimulus checks to help Americans financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. He also suggested that Perdue refused to take part in the debate as he might "incriminate himself" over his alleged trading of stocks based on insider information during the pandemic which he benefited from.
"The reason that we are losing thousands of people per day to this virus is because of the arrogance of politicians like David Perdue," Ossoff said while taking a question from anchor Russ Spencer about COVID-19 in Georgia.
"So arrogant that he disregarded public health expertise and so arrogant that he's not with us here today to answer questions.
"It shows an astonishing arrogance and sense of entitlement for Georgia's senior U.S. senator to believe he shouldn't have to debate at a moment like this in our history," he added.
After the televised debate had finished, Ossoff continued to criticize Perdue for his absence.
In one tweet, he posted a picture of him gesturing towards the empty podium with a chicken emoji. The tweet has so far been shared more than 8,000 times.
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) December 7, 2020
In a statement released after the debate, Ossoff repeated a line that Perdue's absence shows that he "feels entitled" to people's votes next month.
"Your Senator is refusing to answer questions and debate his opponent, because he believes he shouldn't have to. He believes this Senate seat belongs to him," Ossoff said.
"This Senate seat belongs to the people. With early voting beginning on December 14, I want to urge everybody to make a plan to vote."
Despite the senator not being there, Perdue's campaign team still said that Ossoff lost the debate.
"Tonight we witnessed something we didn't know was possible: a candidate lost a debate against himself. An epic failure," campaign manager Ben Fry told The Hill.
"Jon Ossoff came out in support of blanket amnesty, a national lockdown, and made clear he doesn't want to 'get bogged down in the details' about additional COVID relief.
"These are serious times and Jon Ossoff just showed how unserious—and unprepared—he really is. Georgians will reject Jon Ossoff once again next month."
Perdue's team has been contacted for further comment.