Scalise In 1999: I Agree With KKK Leader On ‘Conservative’ Issues But ‘He Can’t Get Elected’

AP

Following new revelations that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) addressed a white nationalist group founded by a former KKK leader, Roll Call resurfaced a 1999 interview in which Scalise, then a state legislator considering a congressional bid, offered his thoughts on the man who is now causing so much trouble for his career.

Scalise has acknowledged that he spoke in front of the European-American Rights and Unity Organization in 2002, though he has said this week that he “didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group.”

EURO was founded by David Duke, who is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the most recognizable figure of the American radical right, a neo-Nazi, longtime Klan leader and now international spokesman for Holocaust denial.”

Duke has flirted with political office throughout his life, being elected to the Louisiana legislature and mounting bids for governor and Congress. Back in 1999, Duke was considering another congressional campaign, and Roll Call caught up with some other Louisiana politicians — including Scalise — who were also thinking about getting into the race and asked them about Duke.

According to Roll Call, Scalise said he shared many of Duke’s “conservative” beliefs, but then argued that the prominent white nationalist was unelectable.

“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” Scalise said. “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.”

Below is the relevant excerpt from the Roll Call article:

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.”

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