House Majority Whip Admits to Speaking at White Supremacist Event

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It’s been a great year for Steve Scalise (R-La).

The man belongs to a party that took over the entire legislative branch of the U.S. government, and he just assumed the role of Majority Whip, or number three in the House pecking order.

On Sunday, noted Louisiana politics blogger Lamar White, Jr. dropped a bombshell: Scalise spoke before a group called the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) in 2002.

EURO is another word for the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

According to White’s post, [EURO] espouses and promotes racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic propaganda and considers the “white race” to be genetically, culturally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually superior to all others. The group used to have a “charismatic leader” named David Duke.

ICYMI: In 1991, Duke ran for Louisiana Governor in a race dubbed “Lizard Vs. Wizard.” The “lizard” was three-time incumbent Edwin Edwards, who was known for having serious sticky fingers and was indicted for corruption and racketeering in 2001. The “wizard” was Duke, but not because he was a big fan of Harry Potter: he was the former state grand dragon of the KKK.

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(Scalise and Duke; Photo credit: Cenlamar.com)

And that guy, who wanted to be governor, invited Rep. Scalise for a talk. Insert vague, deflective talking points from Scalise’s PR head, Moira Bagley:

“Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints. In every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around. In 2002, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to hear his proposal to eliminate slush funds that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars as well as his opposition to a proposed tax increase on middle-class families.

He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question. The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.”

So Scalise claims that he had no idea what EURO was all about…yet, in a 1999 Roll Call post unearthed by the blog Little Green Footballs, he sounds very familiar with Duke, saying:

“The novelty of David Duke has worn off…Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”

Never mind that paradox; queue the obligatory and defensive speak from one side of the aisle (via HuffPo):

“For the 25 years that I’ve known Congressman Scalise, he has been an aggressive advocate for conservative reform. He has been willing to bring this message to anyone who would listen and has spoken to thousands of groups during his career in public service. I’ve also known Steve to be a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his daily life. This manufactured blogger story is simply an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man,” Louisiana party chairman Roger Villere Jr. said in a statement.

The Whip does have at least one defender in blue: Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond said, “I don’t think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body.” Coincidentally, David Duke also had something to say to HuffPo and The Washington Post, calling Scalise “‘a good person,’ with whom he agrees on many issues.” The representative broke his silence in speaking to the New Orleans Times-Picayune last night:

“I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group. For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous…

I spoke to the League of Women Voters, a pretty liberal group. I still went and spoke to them. I spoke to any group that called, and there were a lot of groups calling.”

Yes, Scalise just compared the League of Women Voters to a white supremacist group and now claims that he had no idea Duke was involved with EURO. As the conservative blog RedState asks, “How do you show up at a David Duke event and not know what it is?

Manufactured or not, slanderous or not, Scalise was there. Those beliefs were there. Where the story goes from here is up to the court of public opinion.