A Mississippi state senator has come under fire on Twitter after posting a racist meme referencing the suspected Chinese spy balloon that breached U.S. airspace last week.
Sen. Joel R. Carter, Jr., a Republican who represents the 49th District, shared an image of a weather balloon superimposed with the words "Weather Barroon" and "Totary NOT For Spying." In the tweet, he wrote: "Biden Administration currently."
The alleged spy balloon was first spotted over Montana, which houses three of the nation's nuclear missile silos.
Over the next few days, it traveled across the continental U.S. before it reached the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolina coast and was shot down by an American F-22 fighter jet.
In response, China's Foreign Ministry denied any espionage activity, claiming that the object in question was an unmanned civilian airship "used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes."
President Joe Biden, who wanted the balloon down as early as Wednesday, hailed the balloon's destruction as a success.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have cheered the military response.
Carter was among those officials. But his meme using a mock Asian accent immediately drew backlash on Twitter, with many calling him out for blatant racism.
"Does the 'R.' in your name stand for 'Racist'?" attorney and MSNBC host Katie S. Phang wrote under Carter's tweet.
Entrepreneur Dave Lu replied, "Might as well have been your big white hood that was floating up there."
"I hope someone on your staff is competent enough to tell you that this is a racist post," pastor and Asian American Christian Collaborative President Raymond Chang commented.
Carter's tweet has received nearly 2,500 replies as of this writing. Others advised him to apologize, deal with more urgent problems or delete his account altogether.