"This is what it means to shift to a politics of identity."

Chairman of the American Conservative Union Matt Schlapp appeared Thursday to make a blatantly racist appeal to conservative voters with an image of three senators of color.

Schlapp retweeted a photo of Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Corey Booken, taken during Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford both testified before the committee regarding Ford's sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.

"Look at this photo conservative voters in WV, ND, IN, FL, MO, MT, MI, TV, AZ, NV," he wrote alongside the image, first shared by pro-life activist Marjorie Dannendelser.

The tweet quickly sparked charges of bigotry. 

Many liberals accused Schlapp of espousing a blatantly racist message in an attempt to rally white, conservative voters.

Some conservatives also accused Schlapp of appealing to bigotry. Bill Kristol emphasized Schlapp's high-ranking among conservatives, mentioning his wife Mercedes Schlapp's position as White House Director of Strategic Communications.

Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama characterized Schlapp's tweet as an example of identity politics, presumably white identity.

However, on Friday Schlapp denied the inflammatory tweet had anything to do with race and claimed he was merely referencing senators who "tried to destroy" his friend judge Kavanaugh with sexual assault allegations.

Germania is a staff writer at Pluralist.

You can reach her on ​Twitter.