WASHINGTON (CT&P) – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is technically a white person, is vigorously supporting House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), another white person, as he faces a deluge of criticism and questions over a 2002 speech he gave to a white supremacist group.
“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment. He was not secretive enough in his support of white supremacists in his state. Like many of my colleagues on our side of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character, who will stand up for the rights of wealthy white people all across this great country of ours. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all white Americans,” Boehner said in statement made today outside the “Stars and Bars,” a swanky whites-only supper club in Georgetown.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is also white, is standing by Scalise as well.
“Congressman Scalise acknowledged he made a mistake and has condemned himself for being so dumb,” McCarthy said in a statement released moments after Boehner’s. “I’ve known him as a friend for many years and I know that he is much smarter than he appears. I know that if he could do it all over again, he would have insisted that the speaking engagement be held at night in some field using only torches for lighting. That way no one else would have known about it.”
The show of support from GOP leaders came as Scalise has found himself under fire for being a guest speaker at a 2002 meeting of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. A Louisiana political blogger unearthed evidence of Scalise’s presence at the rally, and from there the news went viral.
Scalise, who was a state lawmaker at the time, maintains that he spoke to any groups who would give him any money whatsoever and says he didn’t know that EURO was affiliated with racists and neo-Nazi activists.
“Twelve years ago, I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state representative, trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting government handouts to black people and half breeds, eliminating government corruption that did not benefit big business, and stopping tax hikes on the white majority. One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group of folks wearing swastikas and white hoods. I want to stress that I had no idea that they were Nazis or members of the Ku Klux Klan. Had I known they were members of any white supremacist groups, I would have been much more circumspect with my support. It was a mistake I regret, and I want everyone to know that I emphatically oppose any groups that would divide the white majority and thus hurt my chances of re-election,” said Scalise.
He continued, “As a Christian, these groups hold views that are vehemently opposed to my own personal faith, and I reject any kind of hateful bigotry except the kind that keeps desperate Hispanic kids on the Mexican side of the border and prevents homosexuals from enjoying the same civil rights as straight Americans. Those who know me best know I have always been passionate about helping, serving, and fighting for every white family that I represent. And I will continue to do so.”
Duke described Scalise as “a pretty nice guy” and “a family man” and “very white” in a Monday night interview with The Huffington Post. He also said it seemed a bit strange that Scalise — who had a friendly relationship with Duke’s campaign manager Kenny Knight, the EURO event’s organizer — claims he didn’t know what the group’s message was about.
“It would seem to me that the son of bitch knew exactly what the fuck he was doing and this is just another example of the white GOP leadership not having the guts to stand up for what they believe in,” said Duke.