White supremacist group linked to Republican presidential hopefuls defends 'legitimacy' of some positions expressed by Charleston shooter Dylann Roof

Roof, charged with the murder of nine African Americans, reportedly referenced the group in a manifesto published in his name online

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A far-right white supremacist group linked to the alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, as well as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has defended the “legitimacy of some of the positions he expressed.”

In a statement posted online yesterday, the Council of Conservative Citizens condemned the killing of nine African American churchgoers last week in South Carolina.

However, the statement went on to say that ignoring the claims reportedly made by Roof – who allegedly cited the group in a manifesto widely attributed to his name – was dangerous.

Roof, 21, charged with the murder of nine black individuals on Friday, has been linked to an online manifesto published in his name in which the author claims he used the CofCC’s website to learn about “black on white crime”.

Witnesses in the church describe the shooter as allegedly telling them: “you rape our women,” and that black individuals were “taking over the country”.

In a statement the group, described by the US Anti-Defamation League as a white supremacist organisation, claims “the true nature of interracial violence is ignored.”

It continues: “we utterly condemn Roof’s despicable killings, but they do not detract in the slightest from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed.”

The statement added: "Ignoring legitimate grievances is dangerous".


It comes amid a Guardian claim that the leader of the CofCC, 62-year-old Earl Holt III, reportedly donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican presidential campaigns, including 2016 candidates such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul.

A spokesperson for candidate Mr Cruz, who received $8,500 in donations from Mr Holt, told The New York Times that his campaign would be “immediately refunding all those donations.”