House Whip Scalise admits to speaking to white supremecist group in 2002

Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, recently elected majority whip, admitted that he spoke to a convention of a group created by notorious racist David Duke in 2002.

Scalise was a state representative at the time and claims that he was unaware of the group's views prior to accepting the invite.

Washington Post:

Scalise, 49, who ascended to the House GOP’s third-ranking post this year, confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO. But the adviser said the congressman didn’t know at the time about the group’s affiliation with racists and neo-Nazi activists.

“For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous,” Scalise told the Times-Picayune on Monday night. The organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, has been called a hate group by several civil rights organizations.

[...]

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) called the news “a big deal.”

“Race still is, sadly, an ugly aspect of our politics,” he said by e-mail. “No politician should ever find himself/herself addressing a white supremacist organization except to tell them to go to hell.” Associates of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) are monitoring the situation, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s staff had no comment.

Scalise’s political circle worked furiously late Monday to quell the storm, with his confidants e-mailing reporters and House members, assuring them that Scalise did not know the implications of his actions in 2002 and describing him as a disorganized and ill-prepared young politician who didn’t pay close attention to invitations.

When Scalise was asked by the Times-Picayune how he came to appear at the conference, he cited his staff, saying he had only one person working for him at the time. “When someone called and asked me to speak, I would go,” he said. “If I knew today what they were about, I wouldn’t go.”

In a phone interview late Monday from his home in Mandeville, La., Duke recalled Scalise as a “nice guy” and said he was invited to the conference by two of Duke’s longtime associates: Howie Farrell, who had worked on Duke’s gubernatorial campaign, and Kenny Knight.

Scalise “says he didn’t realize what the conference was. I don’t know if he did or did not,” Duke said. He also said Scalise should not be forced to resign, saying Scalise was merely taking an opportunity to meet with “constituents.”

Some enterprising conservative writer should investigate where Democrats have spoken.  Rep. Keith Ellison hosted a conference on behalf of the Black Caucus that featured the notorious anti-Semite Dawud Walid of CAIR.  Nobody seemed to mind at that time.

How about Hispanics speaking at La Raza functions?  Or liberals speaking before Communist front groups?  I have no doubt that any group started by David Duke is a hate group.  But a Muslim supremecist group like CAIR (who were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial, where several CAIR members were convicted of funding Hamas) should be equally abhorrent to Americans.

If Scalise didn't know the views of EURO before he spoke, that's an extraordinary lapse in judgment.  A simple Google search at the time would have shown him who created the group and what its ideology was.  That's why it's legitimate to question the congressman's story.  He admits to being stupid.  Whether he's a liar or not remains to be seen.

Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, recently elected majority whip, admitted that he spoke to a convention of a group created by notorious racist David Duke in 2002.

Scalise was a state representative at the time and claims that he was unaware of the group's views prior to accepting the invite.

Washington Post:

Scalise, 49, who ascended to the House GOP’s third-ranking post this year, confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO. But the adviser said the congressman didn’t know at the time about the group’s affiliation with racists and neo-Nazi activists.

“For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous,” Scalise told the Times-Picayune on Monday night. The organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, has been called a hate group by several civil rights organizations.

[...]

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) called the news “a big deal.”

“Race still is, sadly, an ugly aspect of our politics,” he said by e-mail. “No politician should ever find himself/herself addressing a white supremacist organization except to tell them to go to hell.” Associates of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) are monitoring the situation, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s staff had no comment.

Scalise’s political circle worked furiously late Monday to quell the storm, with his confidants e-mailing reporters and House members, assuring them that Scalise did not know the implications of his actions in 2002 and describing him as a disorganized and ill-prepared young politician who didn’t pay close attention to invitations.

When Scalise was asked by the Times-Picayune how he came to appear at the conference, he cited his staff, saying he had only one person working for him at the time. “When someone called and asked me to speak, I would go,” he said. “If I knew today what they were about, I wouldn’t go.”

In a phone interview late Monday from his home in Mandeville, La., Duke recalled Scalise as a “nice guy” and said he was invited to the conference by two of Duke’s longtime associates: Howie Farrell, who had worked on Duke’s gubernatorial campaign, and Kenny Knight.

Scalise “says he didn’t realize what the conference was. I don’t know if he did or did not,” Duke said. He also said Scalise should not be forced to resign, saying Scalise was merely taking an opportunity to meet with “constituents.”

Some enterprising conservative writer should investigate where Democrats have spoken.  Rep. Keith Ellison hosted a conference on behalf of the Black Caucus that featured the notorious anti-Semite Dawud Walid of CAIR.  Nobody seemed to mind at that time.

How about Hispanics speaking at La Raza functions?  Or liberals speaking before Communist front groups?  I have no doubt that any group started by David Duke is a hate group.  But a Muslim supremecist group like CAIR (who were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial, where several CAIR members were convicted of funding Hamas) should be equally abhorrent to Americans.

If Scalise didn't know the views of EURO before he spoke, that's an extraordinary lapse in judgment.  A simple Google search at the time would have shown him who created the group and what its ideology was.  That's why it's legitimate to question the congressman's story.  He admits to being stupid.  Whether he's a liar or not remains to be seen.