At the close of a lengthy manifesto on his “Last Rhodesian” website, Dylann Roof told the world of his intentions to commit mass murder with racist goals right before he committed the vile crime.
I chose Charleston because it is [the] most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. […] Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.
But early in that same diatribe, Roof credits one organization with inspiring his brutality, attributing content on Council of Conservative Citizens’ website to be the motivation of his racism and later murders.
And Kyle Rogers, a senior member of CCC who operates that website, just so happens to also be on the executive committee of the Republican Party in his Dorchester County, South Carolina.
When first elected to that position by his precinct in 2013, some with the county GOP were a tad concerned. They couldn’t remove him, however, its then-chair said. However, the current chair defended him recently, taking issue with any concerns about Rogers when asked by The Journal Scene’s Jenna-Lay Harrison.
According to current Dorchester County GOP Chairman Tim Higgins, Rogers still remains on the executive committee. He also wanted to know what source labeled the man a ‘local white supremacist.’
But that’s the only way Rogers, who works as a local dealer of Confederate memorabilia, can be described.
A member of CCC’s national board of directors, Rogers is labeled as one of “30 to watch” racists in the U.S. by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps a long file of information about him.
Rogers is well-known throughout the community for his radical racism, as well, even being the subject of prominent feature stories in local news. He’s rather open about it, too. In a 2012 interview, he told Glenn Smith of Charleston’s Post & Courier:
[African Americans] are the most privileged members of their race [and] benefit greatly from the generosity of American whites, as they always have. I don’t see a legacy of oppression. Blacks have always benefited from being in the United States.
He even publicly declares that news media discriminates against Caucasians in one of his many YouTube postings (see video below), alleging black-on-white crimes aren’t reported.
And that same claim, which Rogers attempts to defend with a list of purported black-on-white crime on his CCC website, is exactly what Roof says inspired his transformation to a racist killer.
I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?
This established relation led many Republican political campaigns to separate themselves from Roger’s CCC by returning donations they received from its leaders. The Dorchester County Republican Party, to which Rogers made monetary contributions as late as March 2015, has not responded in kind, however.
The Dorchester County Democratic Party called out the county GOP, suggesting it follow the examples of other campaigns and reject Rogers’ money. Said DCDP chair Ethel D. Campbell in a June 24 press release:
We ask our county Republican counterparts to either return the donation they received from Kyle Rogers or offer it to a relevant charity. Even better, they should donate his contribution to the Emanuel AME Church, where nine lives were taken by one who admits being influenced by Rogers’ Council of Conservative Citizens.
Dorchester Republicans have yet to reply.
Again, on “Last Rhodesian” Roof credits CCC’s website, which is operated directly by Rogers, as the inspiration for the murderous path he took. When searching online for information about the Trayvon Martin murder, Roof says:
The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens.
It wasn’t long before Roof had become a radical white supremacist.
I can say today that I am completely racially aware.
Rogers isn’t the only one with Council of Conservative Citizens who’s active with the Republican Party in the area. Another CCC board member, Roan Garcia-Quintana, was on the advisory committee of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s 2014 re-election campaign. Haley asked him to step down from the committee after local media reported Garcia-Quintana’s record of racism. He continued to promote her campaign in following, though, telling local media that Haley “has the features of a Caucasian.”
Here’s Rogers’ video: