Steve Scalise and David Duke

This (via here) should surprise me but it really doesn’t:

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the newly elected House majority whip, acknowledged Monday that he spoke at a gathering hosted by white nationalist leaders while serving as a state representative in 2002, thrusting a racial controversy into House Republican ranks days before the party assumes control of both congressional chambers.

The 48-year-old Scalise, who ascended to the House GOP’s third-ranking post earlier this year, confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.

That organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

His campaign says he didn’t know what the gathering was about but:

The Gambit Weekly, an alternative publication in New Orleans, wrote days before the conference that the hotel distanced itself from Duke’s group and expressed its discomfort.

“A contract to book this event was made some time ago, and it is our practice to fulfill our contractual obligations,” a company spokesperson told the publication. “Our company does not share the views of this organization.”

The Iowa Cubs, a minor-league baseball team, also told the Gambit Weekly that they were concerned about housing their players, which included several African-Americans, at that hotel while traveling to Louisiana.

“I’m glad we’re staying away from it,” says Cubs coach Pat Listach, in an interview earlier that month. “I wouldn’t have been comfortable staying there.”

Hmm, so the Iowa Cubs knew more about the gathering than a Louisiana Republican. Yeah that’s believable.

Oh and here’s Scalise’s comment (from here) when David Duke was running for a House seat in Louisiana in 1999:

Another potential candidate, state Rep. Steve Scalise (R), said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.

“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”

It doesn’t sound like Scalise had a problem with Duke’s views. Nice guy to be the number 3 power in the US House.

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