Loeffler team says she had ‘no idea’ she took photo with white supremacist
A Loeffler spokesperson says the Republican senator didn't know the identity of Chester Doles a man with white supremacist ties
A photo of Sen. Kelly Loeffler standing next to a known white supremacist is circulating on social media and now, her campaign claims she was unaware of his identity or idealogy.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Loeffler posed for a selfie next to Chester Doles at an event in Dawsonville, Georgia. on Friday. Doles is described as a “longtime white supremacist who spent decades in the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi National Alliance.”
In 1993, he was convicted of beating a Black man in Maryland and later faced weapons charges in Georgia. The outlet reported he is also associated with the Hammerskins, a racist skinhead gang with whom he marched in 2017′s violent United the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
AJC reported the photo was uploaded by Doles on VK, a Russian social networking site. He has photos posing with other Georgia politicians on the platform, including snapshots with Republican Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene and Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, according to the report.
Once the photo reached Twitter, Loeffler faced criticism for appearing and smiling in a photo with Doles. The Jewish advocacy group Bend the Arc posted a thread on its account, claiming Kelly Loeffler knew exactly who she joined her in the image.
“Kelly Loeffler’s campaign claims she didn’t know who Chester Doles is. But he was removed from a Loeffler & Marjorie Taylor Greene rally in September — and Loeffler said the same thing then,” the Twitter thread stated.
According to AJC, Loeffler’s campaign is adamant she did not know Doles nor about his white supremacist beliefs.
“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately because we condemn in the most vociferous terms everything that he stands for,” said Stephen Lawson, Loeffler’s campaign spokesman to the outlet.
AJC reported that Doles has made repeated attempts to cross over into politics and claimed to have renounced his past despite maintaining relationships with friends belonging to supremacist movements. In 2019, he initiated an organization called American Patriots USA, a group supportive of President Donald Trump. He even attempted to align himself with Congresswoman-elect Greene, who had him removed from an event in September, an event Loeffler attended.
U.S. Rep.-elect Nikema Williams shared her thoughts on Loeffler with the AJC, saying that this is not the first time Loeffler has found herself in this situation.
“Hatred and racism have no place in our politics, yet once again we are seeing Senator Kelly Loeffler appear with a bigoted and appalling figure,” Williams said. “This isn’t the first time her campaign, which is responsible for divisive attacks, is having to explain why this has taken place. Georgians deserve better than her excuses and her deeply negative campaign.”
Michael Brewer, spokesperson for Rev. Raphael Warnock, Loeffler’s Democrat competitor in the Jan. 5 runoff election for control of the Senate, released a statement to AJC, saying, “There’s no acceptable explanation for it happening once, let alone a second time.”
As theGrio reported, during the debate between the two candidates, Loeffler exclaimed “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” when despite the controversy with players from the Atlanta Dream, the WNBA team she co-owns and sitting for an interview with a pundit with ties to white supremacy.
At the debate, Warnock questioned her true beliefs.
“A multiracial coalition pouring out into American streets after the tragic deaths of Georgia Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others. And what did Kelly Loeffler do? She used her enormous privilege and power as a U.S. senator to pick a fight with the Black women on her [WNBA] team,” said Rev. Warnock.
He continued, “She says she is against racism and racism has no place, but she welcomed the support of a QAnon conspiracy theorist and she sat down with a white supremacist for an interview … I don’t think she can explain that.”
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