Sen. Kelly Loeffler has been photographed with Chester Doles, a former head of the Ku Klux Klan and member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
Doles posted a selfie of them at a rally for Loeffler in Dawsonville, Georgia, on Friday, on the Russian social-media site VKontakte.
The image was reshared on Twitter by a Jewish advocacy group, which criticized Loeffler.
“Kelly had no idea who that was, and if she had she would have kicked him out immediately,” a spokesman for Loeffler told the Associated Press.
Loeffler is currently facing a runoff election in January.
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler posed for a photo with a former Klu Klux Klan chief, but later said she didn’t know who he was.
Appearing at a campaign event in Dawsonville, Georgia, on Friday – ahead of the state’s Senate runoff election – Loeffler posed for a photo with Chester Doles, one of America’s most famous white supremacist.
Loeffler, a Wall Street executive who was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate last December, currently faces a runoff election on January 5, 2021. The results of both her and fellow Republican Sen. David Perdue’s races will decide which party controls the Senate.
Doles spent decades in the KKK, including as its leader and as Maryland’s grand klaliff, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He was also a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and was jailed in 1993 after beating a Black man in Maryland.
Doles posted the photo of himself and Loeffler on the Russian social network VKontakte (VK) on Friday.
“Kelly Leoffener [sic] and I. Save America, stop Socialism!,” Doles wrote as the caption.
The image was later discovered and reposted to Twitter by the advocacy group Bend the Arc: Jewish Action. The group said Loeffler was “embracing white supremacy.”
While the KKK is most well known for its campaign to terrorize Black people, its members have also attacked Jewish people, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A spokesperson for Loeffler’s campaign said she had no idea who Doles was.
“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,” Stephen Lawson, a spokesman for Loeffler’s campaign, told the Associated Press on Sunday.
Read more: Kelly Loeffler was a high-profile Wall Street executive before getting into politics. Here’s how the Republican at the center of a critical January runoff in Georgia rose the ranks on Wall Street.
In mid-September this year, Doles was ejected from a campaign rally held by the Republican Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, where Loeffler was also present.
A spokesman for Loeffler told the Atlanta Journal Constitution at the time that she was not aware that Doles was present, or that he had a history as a racist and white supremacist.
This summer, Loeffler said she was “adamantly” against the Black lives Matter movement, and accused armed Black protesters of practicing “mob rule.” But in a debate in early December, she said: “There is not a racist bone in my body.”
Despite Doles’ long history and association with white supremacist groups, he told the AP on Sunday that he had “publicly renounced racism on several occasions.”
Doles also said he has stood “in front of an all-Black congregation and told my story and renounced all racism and asked for God’s forgiveness.”
In 2019, Doles formed the pro-Trump group American Patriots USA.
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