Alumni of Morehouse College are bashing a new campaign advertisement from Rick McCormick, a staunch Republican running in Georgia's 7th Congressional District race who is cringingly referring to himself a "Morehouse Man."
McCormick got his medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine, an institution that is independent and separated from Morehouse College in 1981.
As Student Body President at Morehouse School of Medicine, I was able to serve a diverse group of people with the same goal of success. As your Congressman, I will always lead by example – I will be ALL IN for ALL Americans. Vote Rich McCormick on Nov. 3 for a fighter in DC. #ga7
— Dr. Rich McCormick for Congress (@RichforGA) October 24, 2020
The advertisement features two of McCormick's Black supporters, Dr. Lattisha Bilbrew and Alvin Hicks, touting his connection to the medical school and their friendship with him, with Bilbrew calling him a "Morehouse Man."
The advertisement caused significant backlash, with dozens of Morehouse College graduates criticizing McCormick. The graduates say he's intentionally misusing the medical school's name as a tacit way to promote his connections to the Black community.
McCormick is in a hotly contested race that is upending past projections. In just four years, the district has transformed from a majority white area to one with a significant number of Black and immigrant residents, slowly turning it from red to blue.
Between 2010 and 2016, the district was solidly red and Congressman Rob Woodall easily won reelection for years. But in 2018, Woodall won by just 433 votes against Carolyn Bourdeaux and last year announced that he would not be seeking reelection, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
McCormick's latest ad is part of a larger effort to bolster his credentials with Black voters in the district, but the effort may have backfired considering the responses to the ad.
This clown is using political blackface, calling himself a Morehouse Man when he didn’t attend Morehouse College but unaffiliated Morehouse School of Medicine. He wants the appearance of inclusion but DGAF about BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or women. Don’t fall for it, y’all. Vote @Carolyn4GA7
— ranter502 (@ranter502again) October 28, 2020
The comments under his post were also pretty scathing.
A “Morehouse Man” is a graduate of Morehouse College. The Morehouse School of Medicine is a separate and unaffiliated entity and never, ever, EVER has ANYONE who graduated from that medical school been called “a Morehouse Man.” That’s just transparent and dishonest pandering. (1)
— The White Firm, LLC (@thewhitefirm) October 27, 2020
Whoever is running this campaign & thought the egregious use of the Morehouse Man distinction was a good idea needs to be fired. This does more to hurt what credibility he may have had along w/ turning off the intended audience to gain. Just stupid!
— Marlon D Brown (@brownmarlond) October 28, 2020
How can you call yourself a Morehouse Man? Morehouse School of Medicine is not only a separate entity but the “Morehouse Man” descriptor is a specific rite of passage that undergraduate students make at Morehouse College. Shame on you for attempting to attach for political gain.
— Adrienne Lance Lucas (@Mslancelucas) October 28, 2020
There were dozens more comments and quote tweets bashing the advertisement for being false and for misrepresenting the Morehouse School of Medicine.
McCormick has struggled in recent weeks as he has faced criticism for promoting conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic and for pledging to dismantle Obamacare if elected.
His comments caused such a backlash in the medical community that a letter was signed by 100 healthcare providers in Georgia earlier this month demanding "the Medical Association of Georgia rescind its endorsement" of McCormick.
"Dr. McCormick has repeatedly and publicly challenged the science on containing the COVID-19 outbreak, contradicted public health experts, and spread dangerous falsehoods about this disease that could put people's health seriously at risk," the letter said.
"These issues are not those of simple partisan disagreements over policy. We take issue with Dr. McCormick because the misinformation he is promoting is not only scientifically incorrect, it also undermines policies that are evidence-based and serves to further polarize our citizens along ideological lines rather than reaffirming the basic public health principles that have been proven effective in pandemic response," the letter added.
Despite the complaints about the Morehouse advertisement, McCormick's campaign sent a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution refusing to take the advertisement down.
"It’s was an honor of a lifetime. He doesn’t see why he shouldn’t be able to share that honor with voters,” campaign spokesman John Simpson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of McCormick's desire to call himself a "Morehouse Man."