Senator Clarifies Alleged Ties To White Nationalist Group

Guest host Celeste Headlee and editor Ammad Omar crack open the listener mailbox for backtalk.

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And now it's time for Backtalk, that's the time when we hear from you. Editor Ammad Omar is with us today. What is going on?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Celeste, we have a little clarification. In our political chat last week, we talked about a staff shakeup for South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. The co-chair of her reelection committee resigned over connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls that a white nationalist group.


OMAR: Right, but one of our guests said on air, that a lot of politicians have ties to the CCC, including Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.

HEADLEE: Senator Wicker once attended a campaign event with the CCC, this is while he was a congressman.

OMAR: That's right, but we got an email from the senator's office saying quote, this event was on a Saturday during the campaign of 2000. It was one of several functions my wife and I attended that day. My visit was very brief. The senator goes on to say, at no time before, during, or after my short stay there did I see or hear any racial or anti-Semitic comments. I certainly do not condone the actions or statements of anyone who espouses the views that this organization has posted on its website. He says, I regret if my appearance before the group lent credibility to its activities and to the attitudes and beliefs that have been attributed to this organization. He says, that's just not who I am. It is not what I'm about, unquote.

HEADLEE: Okay, thanks for that, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you, Celeste

HEADLEE: And remember, at TELL ME MORE, the conversation never really ends. You can tell us more. Visit us online at Remember, leave us your name. We're also on Twitter, just look for @TellMeMoreNPR.

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