White Nationalist Group Defends Dylann Roof’s “Legitimate Grievances”

“We utterly condemn Roof’s despicable killings, but they do not detract from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed.”

Members of the South Carolina Council of Conservative Citizens protesting in 1999. Kim Truett/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization with white supremacist leanings, has issued a statement defending the “legitimate grievances” expressed by Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof. Roof made reference to the council in his manifesto, saying he used its site to learn about “black on White crime.”

In the statement, the council condemns “Roof’s murderous actions” but goes on to warn that “our society’s silence about [such] crimesdespite enormous amounts of attention to ‘racially tinged’ acts by whites—only increase the anger of people like Dylann Roof. This double standard *only makes acts of murderous frustration more likely* [emphasis by the council]. In his manifesto, Roof outlines other grievances felt by many whites. Again, 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 council’s site also has a statement from the organization’s president, Earl Holt III, saying, “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.” The Guardian reported Sunday that in recent years Holt has given to a number of GOP politicians, including Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Rand Paul. A spokesperson from Cruz’s presidential campaign told the Guardian that the campaign plans to return the money.

As my colleagues Clara Jeffery and James West explain in their post decoding the racist references in Roof’s manifesto, the council “was founded by members of Citizens’ Councils of America, also known as White Citizens Councils, a confederation of segregationist groups active until the 1970s. In more recent years, the Council of Conservative Citizens has made news when it was revealed that former US Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had given speeches to the group. It was also extremely active in demonstrations to keep the Confederate battle flag flying over the state capitol of South Carolina.”

The statement lists a phone number for the council’s spokesman, Jared Taylor, that is not in service. Calls and emails to the council’s office were not immediately returned; we’ll update this post if they are.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend