Loeffler again denies knowing former Klan leader after taking selfie with him

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The prominent white supremacist was also at a rally attended by Kelly Loeffler in September.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) claimed on Sunday that she does not know a former Ku Klux Klan leader with whom she posed for a photo. But her campaign has said this before — about the same white nationalist.

Loeffler posed, without a mask, for a photo last week with Chester Doles, a white supremacist and former Klan leader. The social justice group Bend the Arc: Jewish Action flagged the photo on Saturday, tweeting, "In 1993, Doles nearly beat a Black man to death. In 2017, he marched in Charlottesville. This is who @KLoeffler is proudly appealing to."

A Loeffler campaign spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday, "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."

But the outlet noted that Doles had also been at a rally held by House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene Loeffler and attended by Loeffler in September. He was removed from that rally, and Loeffler's campaign had said then that she did not know who he was or that he was present.

A spokesperson for Democrat Raphael Warnock, Loeffler's opponent in the Jan. 5 runoff election for Loeffler's Senate seat, did not buy the denial.

"This is not the first time Loeffler has had to try to explain why Chester Doles, a longtime white supremacist who spent decades in the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi National Alliance and is associated with a racist skinhead gang, is appearing at her campaign events," the spokesperson, Michael Brewer, said in a statement. "There's no acceptable explanation for it happening once, let alone a second time."

Loeffler, who was appointed to a vacant Senate seat a year ago, has made frequent appeals to racists and racism throughout her short tenure in office.

Her attacks on Warnock, who would be the first Black person to represent Georgia in the Senate, have mirrored racist attacks used against Barack Obama in 2008. She has smeared Warnock as "anti-American," attempted to link him to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a controversial Black minister, and attacked Warnock's religious views.

She also has frequently gone after anti-racism activists, claiming Black Lives Matter activists are communists, and made a big deal of her 100% agreement with Donald Trump's record — apparently including his many racist words and deeds.

Last week, Warnock criticized Loeffler during a debate for campaigning with Greene, a far-right conspiracy theorist who has a history of racist and Islamophobic rhetoric and who won her race for the House in November, and appearing on a television show hosted by a prominent white supremacist on the far-right One America News Network.

Loeffler responded by suggesting the criticism was "divisive," asserting, "There's not a racist bone in my body."

While Loeffler disavows and denies knowing about the views of her supporters, she has attacked Warnock for a visit by Cuban President Fidel Castro in 1995 to Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem in New York City, tweeting that he "celebrated Fidel Castro and welcomed him to church."

At the time of Castro's appearance at the church, the 26-year-old Warnock served there as a youth pastor and had nothing to do with arranging the visit, his campaign noted, telling Fox News that he was "not involved in any decisions at that time."

Early voting in the Georgia Senate runoff election began Monday.

The race is expected to be close in a state carried in November by President-elect Joe Biden by about 12,000 votes.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.