“I am not perfect and simply retweeted something too fast,” said White, who heads the Buckhead City Committee. “I’m sure I won’t be the first or the last person on Twitter to do that.”
White’s response drew a collective eyeroll from opponents of the Buckhead cityhood movement. Several elected officials said his deleted post served as proof that the Republican-led effort to create a wealthy, majority-white Buckhead City was rooted in racism.
“If Gov. Kemp or legislative leaders take up a Buckhead City proposal in the weeks to come, today’s events will define it,” said state Rep. Josh McLaurin, among the Democratic legislators against the proposal.
“You heard it directly from Bill White and the white supremacists he retweeted: the proposal is about racial division.”
VDARE is an anti-immigration website founded in 1999 that routinely engages in white identity politics and has published the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites.
The site is named after Virginia Dare, who is believed to be the first white person born in a European colony in North America. Although little is known about her, Virginia Dare has been used as a symbol of white purity for generations of bigots.
Peter Brimelow, the founder of the site, has denied that VDARE is a white nationalist publication, although he has hosted content written by white nationalists and he has appeared in conferences alongside figures such as Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor who espouse the creation of a white ethnostate.
Brimelow, himself, has claimed America cannot withstand a future where the country is not explicitly white.
White’s post, which he tweeted late Saturday and deleted early Sunday, came at a particularly volatile moment.
Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens will be sworn into office on Monday, and he’s vowed to work quickly to improve city-state relations.
The incoming mayor won’t have much time: the legislative session begins next week, and powerful Republicans back a November referendum to carve Buckhead into its own municipality.
Election-year politics will shape the debate. One of the most prominent cityhood supporters is former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, whose endorsement of the idea has increased pressure on Gov. Brian Kemp, his rival, to follow suit.
Opponents of the measure, which include every Democratic legislator who represents the city and a handful of rural Republicans, seem certain to invoke White’s tweet to rally opposition.
“You are the company you keep,” said Democratic state Rep. Shea Roberts, whose district includes parts of Buckhead, of White’s deleted post.
The Buckhead City Committee is not the first organization to associate itself with VDARE and later claim ignorance.
During the 2016 Republican convention, a tweet by VDARE ran on a giant electronic scroll in the convention hall. In 2018, White House economic adviser Larry Kudrow apologized for inviting Brimelow to his birthday party, claiming to be unaware of VDARE and its content.
In 2019, a link to a VDARE post was included in a Justice Department newsletter sent to federal immigration judges. A spokeswoman said at the time the department would not renew its contract with the agency that created the newsletter.
It also drew more attention to White, a skilled fundraiser and ally of former President Donald Trump who has used his social media account to promote the phony “Stop the Steal” narrative that the 2020 election was rigged.
The Neighbors for a United Atlanta, one of a constellation of pro-Atlanta organizations, said White’s post illustrate his efforts to divide the city.
“Instead of promoting Atlanta’s legacy of civil rights, sustained economic growth, or its unbound potential, today’s action by Mr. White tarnishes Atlanta’s reputation,” said Humberto Garcia-Sjogrim, who chairs the group.