An aide to the re-election campaign of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has resigned from his position over connections to a white supremacist group. According to Mediaite, Cuban-American conservative activist Roan Garcia-Quintana stepped down after days of intense pressure on the campaign.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation league revealed last week that Garcia-Quintana is a longtime director of the Council for Conservative Citizens, an anti-immigration, pro-white group that has taken a stand against “all efforts to mix the races of mankind.”
In an interview on Friday with South Carolina’s The State, Garcia-Quintana addressed the controversy by saying that he is not anti-black or anti-Asian, but rather pro-Caucasian.
“Is it racist to be proud of your own heritage? Is it racist to want to keep your own heritage pure?” Garcia-Quintana said to The State. “Racist is when you hate somebody so much that you want to destroy them.”
Garcia-Quintana’s argument echoes National Organization for Marriage director Maggie Gallagher’s recent editorial in the National Review Online in which she argued that her organization is not anti-LGBT, but “pro-straight.”
Over the weekend, the Haley campaign stood by Garcia-Quintana. Campaign spokesperson Tim Pearson erroneously likened the scrutiny of the white supremacist’s record to the IRS investigations of Tea Party “social welfare” groups.
“The IRS thinks conservatives should be targeted for abuse, but Gov. Haley does not,” said Pearson.
The next day, the campaign announced that Garcia-Quintana was stepping down at their request.
“The Haley for Governor Grassroots Advisory Committee today asked volunteer Roan Garcia-Quintana to resign from our 164-member volunteer committee,” Pearson announced in a statement that was carried by the Charlotte Observer.
The statement continued, “While we appreciate the support Roan has provided, we were previously unaware of some of the statements he had made, statements which do not well represent the views of the governor. There is no place for racially divisive rhetoric in the politics or governance of South Carolina, and Governor Haley has no tolerance for it.”
The NAACP called the Council of Conservative Citizens “the largest white nationalist group in the country and direct descendant of the white Citizens Councils that fought to defend Jim Crow segregation during the 1950s and 1960s.”
[image of Gov. Nikki Haley via Wikipedia]