Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) finally issued a statement saying he regrets speaking before group of white supremacists in 2002. He said, “I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”
Scalise: “I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.” I have no doubt Steve Scalise used poor judgment when he spoke to ex-KKK grand dragon David Duke-backed group. What’s troubling is that he could use the same poor judgment in the U.S. Congress.
It’s pretty ironic that Roll Call was able to dig up a 1999 interview in which Steve Scalise said he agreed with David Duke on conservative issues. Um, so how can he make the argument that he didn’t know what EURO stood for back in 2002?
Following new revelations that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) addressed a white nationalist group founded by a former KKK leader, Roll Call resurfaced a 1999 interview in which Scalise, then a state legislator considering a congressional bid, offered his thoughts on the man who is now causing so much trouble for his career.
Scalise has acknowledged that he spoke in front of the European-American Rights and Unity Organization in 2002, though he has said this week that he “didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group.”
EURO was founded by David Duke, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the most recognizable figure of the American radical right, a neo-Nazi, longtime Klan leader and now international spokesman for Holocaust denial.” Source: Talking Points Memo
The Southern Poverty Law Center is calling on Steve Scalise to step down, saying his denials are not “believable.”
Scalise claimed yesterday that he had no idea of the views promoted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), whose workshop he addressed in 2002 at a hotel in Metairie, La. And he was backed by an array of Louisiana Republicans including state GOP chair Roger Villere Jr., who described Scalise as “a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his life.” Villere dismissed the story broken by Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. as “an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man.”
But Scalise’s claim of ignorance is almost impossible to believe. He was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and EURO already was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.
EURO was founded two years before Scalise agreed to speak to its conference by Louisiana resident David Duke, a media-friendly neo-Nazi and onetime grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who had made a national name for himself by running repeatedly for office. He won his first elected office in 1989, when he became a state representative, garnering local headlines across Louisiana. In 1990, he won more than 600,000 votes in an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, and in 1991, he took almost 700,000 votes in a run for governor. Newspapers around the world wrote about his ultimately losing fight against the scandal-dogged Edwin Edwards and the bumper sticker it engendered: “Vote for the crook, it’s important.”
High-ranking Republican lawmakers also issued statements on Steve Scalise: