Loeffler isn’t going to take it; comes back guns blazing against Ossoff’s ‘Klansmen’ accusation
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler is swinging back after Democrat Jon Ossoff falsely claimed she was campaigning with a Klansman. Ossoff leveled the accusation during a press gathering Wednesday in response to a question from Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy.
“Kelly Loeffler has been campaigning with Klansmen,” he said, repeating the same line in the next breath for added emphasis. “She is stooping to these vicious personal attacks (against Warnock) to distract from the fact that she’s been campaigning with a former member of the Ku Klux Klan.”
Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), who is running against Loeffler in a tight Georgia runoff race, sent out a tweet on Thursday showing a photo taken earlier this month that showcases Loeffler smiling alongside a former Ku Klux Klan leader named Chester Doles. He also included a newspaper clipping showing Doles leading a march with other Klansmen.
“If he’s going to bring up lies about who I’m campaigning with, I’m going to talk about the truth about who he’s campaigning with,” she said. “He’s campaigning with Raphael Warnock, who has a past with child abuse and domestic abuse, who has celebrated Jeremiah Wright, Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, James Cone, Louis Farrakhan. He’s attacked our police, our military. He’s attacked Israel, small businesses, and every single Georgian.”
Warnock’s campaign spokesperson, Michael J. Brewer, said the appointed Republican “has spent her whole campaign lying about Rev. Warnock and trying to divide Georgians. So let’s be clear: First, she campaigned with a KKK leader in September, and when asked about it at the time, said she didn’t know him. Then three months later, when she was caught campaigning with him again, she tried to use the same excuse.”
Loeffler’s campaign has strongly condemned the misleading photo being weaponized against her.
“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,” Loeffler’s campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson previously said regarding the photograph.
Even CNN, who has no love for Republicans or Loeffler, issued a “false” rating on this claim during their fact-check of Ossoff’s claim.
This is false. A former member of the KKK took a photo with Loeffler while she was campaigning earlier this month. Loeffler’s campaign said the senator did not know who the man was and would have removed him from the event had she known. This is not, at all, the same as “campaigning with a klansman,” as Ossoff claimed. Politicians often take pictures with people they don’t know.
Loeffler called Ossoff a “pathological liar” on Wednesday during another interview with Doocy, after he claimed she had “campaigned” with a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Georgia knows that Jon Ossoff is a pathological liar. He’s a trust fund socialist whose only job has been working for the Chinese Communist Party in recent years,” Loeffler said, referring to payments from a government-linked Hong Kong media conglomerate to Ossoff’s media company, which he did not initially list on a financial disclosure form this year.
Loeffler does not know Doles who was just one of many who posed for a photo-op with her. She condemned his beliefs two weeks ago.
It’s very common for candidates to pose for selfies with people along the campaign trail. They can’t possibly know everyone they pose with. Doles was not part of the campaign as Ossoff alleged.
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) December 31, 2020
Doles was an ardent proponent of white supremacism for years. He is a former member of the KKK as well as other racist groups. He marched at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017, where a woman was killed by a White supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of counterdemonstrators.
He pleaded guilty to a battery charge after attacking a Black man seen riding in a truck with a White woman in Maryland in the 1990s. As part of a plea deal to reduce the charge from assault with intent to murder, he agreed to testify against a fellow Klansman accomplice.
Doles told the Associated Press this month that he recently renounced racism “and asked for God’s forgiveness.”
Loeffler said Doles was removed from her December event.
“I don’t think he felt comfortable at all. We kicked him out. Look, what’s going on here is exactly what the Democrats are trying to do to every Republican. They want to attack Republicans for our conservative values,” Loeffler told POLITICO. “They want to threaten them by calling them names like racists, and Republicans are fighting for opportunity for every American.”
Later Thursday, when asked to respond to Loeffler’s attack against him, Ossoff stuck to the issue of the KKK.
“The question I have for Sen. Loeffler is why she keeps having photo ops and being in campaign events with white supremacists and Klansmen,” he said. “I think that Sen. Loeffler should hold a press conference and denounce the Klan and renounce those people that she’s taken these photos with.”
A number of White supremacists have gone out of their way to pose with Republican candidates over the last few years, almost as if it were somehow planned.
Loeffler was appointed to fill the seat of Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down a year ago. Her race with Warnock is a special election for Isakson’s seat.
Ossoff forced a runoff with Perdue after neither candidate was able to get enough votes to win the seat outright on Election Day.
The Republicans need to hold on to at least one Senate seat in these races to maintain their Senate majority. If they lose both seats, Democrats will control both the White House and Congress giving them virtually free rein to pass any legislation they desire.