Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), a vociferous opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement, claimed Sunday that “there is not a racist bone in my body.”
The senator infuriated critics with the remark during her debate with the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D), whom she faces next month in a Georgia runoff election that will help determine control of the Senate.
She was asked by panelist Lisa Rayam of WABE Radio whether she stands by her previous remarks calling the Black Lives Matter movement “fascist,” after hearing a comment from a Black constituent who said she fears daily for the lives of her family members from police violence.
Loeffler did not walk back her remarks.
“Well, the life of every African American is important, and there is no place for racism in this country,” Loeffler said. “But there are organizations whose number one goal is to defund the police. And we know that that hurts minority communities more than anyone. And we have to stand with our men and women of law enforcement. And I will always do that.”
In July, Loeffler, who co-owns the Atlanta Dream WNBA team, said she was “adamantly” against the Black Lives Matter movement after the basketball league dedicated its season to supporting it and other social justice causes. She claimed it might alienate sports fans. Weeks earlier, she accused Black protesters with guns in Georgia ― where open carry is legal ― of practicing “mob rule,” even though she bills herself as a champion of the Second Amendment.
Warnock accused Loeffler of using her “enormous privilege and power” as a senator to “pick a fight with the Black women on her team.”
Loeffler responded by calling Warnock’s remarks “sad,” saying she doesn’t have a racist bone in her body, and calling her opponent divisive.
The senator’s WNBA team has been calling for her to be booted from the league for months, citing her racist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, among other controversies. Members of the Atlanta Dream have openly campaigned for Warnock.
Her debate night remarks were met with outrage and ridicule on Twitter.