GOP senator draws fire for prayer that President Obama's 'days be few'

Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) stirred controversy on Friday by citing a biblical passage when talking about President Obama that some interpret as a death curse.

“In his role as president, I think we should pray for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter Krystal Ball: Patrick's 2020 bid is particularly 'troublesome' for Warren Deval Patrick: Biden 'misses the moment' in 2020 campaign MORE. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray,” Perdue said at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington.  

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“We should pray like Psalm 109:8 says, that says, ‘Let his days be few. And let another have his office,’” the senator said with a grin, drawing laughter from the crowd at the conservative Christian gathering.

That verse has long been used as a slogan by opponents of the president. Bumper stickers and T-shirts have been printed with the phrase “Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8.”

But the psalm's next lines are more sinister: “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!”

A spokesman for Perdue said the senator was not wishing harm on the president, pointing out he did not recite the later portion of the psalm.

"Senator Perdue said we are called to pray for our country, for our leaders, and for our president. He in no way wishes harm towards our president and everyone in the room understood that," communications director Megan Whittemore wrote in an email.

"However, we should add the media to our prayer list because they are pushing a narrative to create controversy and that is exactly what the American people are tired of."

Asked by Politico whether he regretted the remarks, Perdue replied, "of course not."

"There was no intention to be derogatory at all. It was a little humor,” he said.

Perdue's quip drew swift criticism from Democrats. 

“On stage next, did [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] condemn Perdue's prayer for Obama to die? Of course not. This is why they have Trump,” tweeted Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Bottom Line Lobbying world MORE (D-Nev.).

Perdue has reportedly grown close to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE. He is co-hosting a fundraiser for the candidate next week in Georgia with the state’s governor, Nathan Deal (R).  

Updated at 12:34 p.m.