Ossoff tweeted out a video Wednesday evening accusing Georgia’s two Senators, Loeffler and fellow Republican David Perdue, of using their offices to enrich themselves. Ossoff is running against Perdue, while Loeffler will face Democrat Raphael Warnock in a crucial January 5 runoff election that will decide whether President-elect Joe Biden’s party gets control of both houses of Congress.
Asked by a Fox News reporter whether allegations of wrongdoing against Warnock could “be a drag” on Democrat votes in the runoff, Ossoff said, “Here’s the bottom line: Kelly Loeffler has been campaigning with a Klansman … And so she is stooping to these vicious personal attacks to distract from the fact that she’s campaigning with a former member of the Ku Klux Klan.”
The KKK jab – which marks the latest salvo in Georgia’s heated battle for two seats that will dictate control of the Senate – was apparently a measured attack. Democrats repeated the line on Thursday, with New York activist Jon Cooper tweeting, “Kelly Loeffler campaigned with a Klansman. Pass it on.”
Republicans were outraged in response. Stephen Lawson, spokesman for Loeffler’s campaign, said the comment was “not surprising coming from a pathological liar like Jon Ossoff whose parents still pay his rent.” He added that Twitter should have taken down Ossoff’s tweet, because it’s “a blatant lie.”
Ossoff’s comment was apparently a reference to a selfie that white supremacist Chester Doles took with Loeffler at an event on December 11. Loeffler’s campaign condemned Doles in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and said that, if she had known who he was, she would have kicked him out of the event.
A CNN fact-check article on Thursday ruled that Ossoff’s claim was false.
Twitter, which has come under fire for its alleged anti-conservative bias in the past, said it won’t flag the tweet as misleading since “making a claim about someone happens in political speech all the time,” the platform’s spokesman Trenton Kennedy told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.
Twitter’s decision not to intervene came as a bitter pill for Republicans, who watched social media companies block dissemination of reports about the Biden family’s alleged influence-peddling overseas prior to the November 3 presidential election. Those same companies have tried to quash allegations of voting fraud in the election’s aftermath.
“After they wouldn’t even let you tweet the link to the Hunter Biden story a few months ago, a Twitter spokesman told us they are not going to be the arbiter of truth in refusing to flag Ossoff’s tweet lying about Loeffler campaigning with a Klansman,” conservative commenter Greg Price said.
Other observers pointed out the irony of southern Democrats smearing Loeffler as having KKK ties when it was the Democratic Party that founded the KKK. Former KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) rose to Senate majority leader and was eulogized on his death in 2010 by Biden and other party leaders.