Black Caucus says Scalise needs to do more than say he's 'sorry' for speaking to hate group

"Nice congressional career you have there, Rep. Scalise. It would be a shame if something happened to it."

This attempted extortion by the Black Caucus in trying to force House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to grovel and scrape in order to "satisfy" their wounded sensibilities as a result of the congressman speaking before a white supremecist group, is a simple power play, no more.

And when Scalise declines to bow to them, they can criticize him for that too.

The Hill:

Black lawmakers say House GOP Whip Steve Scalise has to do more than say he’s sorry for addressing a white supremacist group when he was a Louisiana state lawmaker 12 years ago.

If Scalise wants to repair his battered image, he needs to put actions behind declarations that he’s no bigot, they say.

Give a major address on race relations, or co-sponsor a bill restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court, black lawmakers say.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has invited Scalise to sit down with Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members and explain his views, while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has urged him to follow former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) lead and join this year’s 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma March.

Even Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who said Scalise didn’t have a “racist bone in his body” when the news broke that Scalise has spoken to a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, said his friend has work to do.

“If I was Steve, I would be concerned about my legacy if I died tomorrow,” Richmond, the only black member of the Pelican State’s delegation, told The Hill in an interview on Thursday. “And I’m sure he doesn’t want his legacy to be he spoke to a David Duke crowd, a group of racists, and therefore he’s racist.

“I would be concerned about that," Richmond added, "and I would do some things to prove that he’s the kind of person I think he is, which is that he’s a person who cares about people."

While GOP leaders have backed their colleague publicly, some Republicans also think their chief vote-counter has to do more to restore his name.

The majority whip is the House GOP’s third-ranking leader, and is supposed to raise money around the country for his party and regularly appear on television to outline GOP principles. For now, an appearance by Scalise would be dominated by questions about the 2002 address and the rest of his record on racial issues.

The man who organized the event for Duke's group says that he invited Scalise to speak to another group that used the same meeting space at the time. Scalise himself can't say for sure who he spoke to.

But none of that matters to the Black Caucus. Their suggestion that he introduce legislation restoring parts of the voting rights act removed by the Supreme Court - even though he doesn't agree that they should be put back - is an insult to the congressman's integrity as a lawmaker.

Scalise should not don sackcloth and ashes simply because the Black Caucus cracks the whip. If any further gestures are necessary, the congressman's constituents will let him know, not a congressional special interest group.

"Nice congressional career you have there, Rep. Scalise. It would be a shame if something happened to it."

This attempted extortion by the Black Caucus in trying to force House Majority Whip Steve Scalise to grovel and scrape in order to "satisfy" their wounded sensibilities as a result of the congressman speaking before a white supremecist group, is a simple power play, no more.

And when Scalise declines to bow to them, they can criticize him for that too.

The Hill:

Black lawmakers say House GOP Whip Steve Scalise has to do more than say he’s sorry for addressing a white supremacist group when he was a Louisiana state lawmaker 12 years ago.

If Scalise wants to repair his battered image, he needs to put actions behind declarations that he’s no bigot, they say.

Give a major address on race relations, or co-sponsor a bill restoring key provisions of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court, black lawmakers say.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has invited Scalise to sit down with Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members and explain his views, while Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has urged him to follow former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) lead and join this year’s 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” Selma March.

Even Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who said Scalise didn’t have a “racist bone in his body” when the news broke that Scalise has spoken to a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, said his friend has work to do.

“If I was Steve, I would be concerned about my legacy if I died tomorrow,” Richmond, the only black member of the Pelican State’s delegation, told The Hill in an interview on Thursday. “And I’m sure he doesn’t want his legacy to be he spoke to a David Duke crowd, a group of racists, and therefore he’s racist.

“I would be concerned about that," Richmond added, "and I would do some things to prove that he’s the kind of person I think he is, which is that he’s a person who cares about people."

While GOP leaders have backed their colleague publicly, some Republicans also think their chief vote-counter has to do more to restore his name.

The majority whip is the House GOP’s third-ranking leader, and is supposed to raise money around the country for his party and regularly appear on television to outline GOP principles. For now, an appearance by Scalise would be dominated by questions about the 2002 address and the rest of his record on racial issues.

The man who organized the event for Duke's group says that he invited Scalise to speak to another group that used the same meeting space at the time. Scalise himself can't say for sure who he spoke to.

But none of that matters to the Black Caucus. Their suggestion that he introduce legislation restoring parts of the voting rights act removed by the Supreme Court - even though he doesn't agree that they should be put back - is an insult to the congressman's integrity as a lawmaker.

Scalise should not don sackcloth and ashes simply because the Black Caucus cracks the whip. If any further gestures are necessary, the congressman's constituents will let him know, not a congressional special interest group.