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Loeffler, a GOP Georgia senator, did embrace an endorsement of her campaign by a Georgia Republican who is a proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Loeffler gave an interview to a correspondent for the One America News Network who has praised a prominent white supremacist and has other ties to white supremacists.
The Southern Poverty Law Center does not include the interviewer on its list of white nationalists, but says it’s still investigating his collaboration with hate groups.
In a Georgia debate that could help decide which party controls the Senate, Black pastor Raphael Warnock went after white businesswoman Kelly Loeffler on race.
"And she says she is against racism and that racism has no place," Warnock, the Democratic challenger, said of Loeffler, the GOP senator.
"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."
Warnock was referring to Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, and conservative activist Jack Posobiec, who once interviewed Loeffler.
In the debate, Loeffler didn’t respond directly to the two-part attack, but said: "There’s not a racist bone in my body."
Loeffler did embrace an endorsement from Greene in a campaign event, so that part is true. The evidence Warnock relies on for the other part of the claim doesn’t flatly label Posobiec as a white supremacist, but notes that he has ties to people in that movement, and Posobiec and has praised some of them.
The QAnon conspiracy theory claims public figures like Hillary Clinton, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey are part of a ring of Satan-worshipping, cannibalistic pedophiles, and that President Donald Trump is secretly fighting to bring it down.
The FBI has described the QAnon movement as a potential domestic terrorism threat. But Greene, a former construction executive heading to Congress, has called it "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out," and has made derogatory remarks about Black people, Jews and Muslims.
Loeffler appeared with Greene at an Oct. 15 campaign event to tout her endorsement from the House candidate. By then, Greene had won a primary runoff to represent Georgia’s safely Republican 14th congressional district.
Loeffler praised Greene’s defense of "conservative values."
"I've gotten a lot of work done in Washington already in that regard — and I'm thrilled to know I've got a strong, conservative champion that's going to be fighting right alongside with me," Loeffler said of Greene.
Loeffler gave an interview July 31 to Posobiec, who is known as a conservative activist and is a correspondent for One America News Network, a conservative cable news channel.
Loeffler highlighted the interview, which aired on OANN, on her campaign’s Twitter account. She said she did the interview "to discuss why I had to call out" the Black Lives Matter "political organization — and why the woke mob is trying to cancel me."
To back its claim about Loeffler sitting for an interview "with a white supremacist," Warnock’s campaign cited a news report about Posobiec from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a report about Posobiec from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a social justice nonprofit that in recent years has been criticized over some of its tracking of hate groups. Those reports talk about Posobiec’s association with white supremacy.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution led its article about the Loeffler interview by saying Posobiec is "associated with white supremacy and Nazism." The article said Jewish groups and media observers pointed out that Posobiec "promotes conspiracy theories and once associated with white supremacists including Richard Spencer."
Posobiec has praised Spencer, a white nationalist who was one of the leaders of the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, where a white supremacist rammed a car into a counterprotester, killing her.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, in a report published July 8 on its Hatewatch blog, said Posobiec "collaborated for years with white supremacists," including Spencer. "Posobiec’s ties to far-right extremists travel beyond borders into Europe. His connections to white supremacy are too numerous to compile into one article, so Hatewatch is running a series of stories on the correspondent’s ties to the movement and promotion of it."
The center does not include Posobiec on its list of white nationalists, or its broader list of extremists.
"The only reason we have not formally listed Posobiec yet is that we are still reporting out his history within hate movements," Michael Edison Hayden, who wrote the Hatewatch blog post on Posobiec, told PolitiFact. "We have more to publish about Posobiec soon, also related to promotion of an anti-immigrant politician and his collaboration with white supremacists. Do not interpret the current absence of his extremist profile as a suggestion that he is somehow less extreme than figures like Richard Spencer."
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said Posobiec "has apparently cozied up to various white supremacists." Loeffler "should know that granting an interview to such a person, while criticizing those who point out his bigotry and disturbing associations, legitimizes the toxic views he so dutifully promotes."
Loeffler’s campaign and Posobiec did not respond to our requests for comment.
Warnock said Loeffler "welcomed the support of a QAnon conspiracy theorist, and she sat down with a white supremacist for an interview."
Loeffler did welcome the endorsement of her campaign by a QAnon supporter.
Loeffler gave an interview to a man who has praised a prominent white nationalist and who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "collaborated for years with white supremacists." The center does not include the interviewer on its list of white nationalists, but says it is continuing to investigate him.
We rate Warnock’s statement Half True.
This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.
Rev.com, debate transcript and video, Dec. 6, 2020
Email, Michael Brewer, Raphael Warnock campaign spokesman, Dec. 7, 2020
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Georgia Senate: Gloves come off in Warnock vs. Loeffler race," Nov. 12, 2020
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Kelly Loeffler takes BLM criticism to host with white supremacist ties," Aug. 1, 2020
Newsweek, "Trump Retweets Alt-Right Leader Who Has Praised White Supremacist Richard Spencer," Aug. 15, 2017
Raphael Warnock campaign’s KellyIsForKelly.com, accessed Dec. 9, 2020
Email, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, Dec. 8, 2020
New York Times, "Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon Supporter, Wins House Primary in Georgia," Aug. 11, 2020
Southern Povery Law Center, "Jack Posobiec’s Rise Tied to White Supremacist Movement," July 8, 2020
Interview, Southern Poverty Law Center reporter Michael Edison Hayden, Dec. 8, 2020
Southern Poverty Law Center, list of white nationalists, accessed Dec. 8, 2020
Washington Post, "Marjorie Taylor Greene, who backs QAnon and has made racist remarks, wins congressional seat," Nov. 4, 2020
Politico, "Loeffler touts endorsement from House candidate who praised QAnon conspiracy theory," Oct. 15, 2020
PolitiFact, "What is QAnon, the baseless conspiracy spilling into US politics?", Aug. 27, 2020
PolitiFact, "Biden wrong when he says Trump hasn’t condemned David Duke," Aug. 27, 2019
Twitter, Kelly Loeffler campaign tweet, July 31, 2020
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