GOP Whip: ‘Ludicrous’ To Think I Was Involved With White Nationalists

Scott Threlkeld/FR 171144AP

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said Monday that he “detests” hate groups and doesn’t support the views of a white nationalist group he spoke to over a decade ago.

Scalise addressed reports that he appeared at a 2002 convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The congressman acknowledged that he spoke with several local organizations during that same time period about his opposition to a tax plan, although he hedged that he didn’t remember appearing at that event in particular.

“I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group,” he told the newspaper. “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous.”

Scalise added that as a Catholic, he believes that white nationalists “target” people like him.

But while he said he holds contradictory views to those of the group centered around former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, he told the Times-Picayune that he spoke to “any group that called” during that period of his tenure in the Louisiana state legislature.

“I spoke to the League of Women Voters, a pretty liberal group. … I still went and spoke to them,” he told the newspaper. “I spoke to any group that called, and there were a lot of groups calling.”

RedState editor Erick Erickson ripped Scalise earlier Monday after the Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported that the congressman had been unaware of the group’s extreme views at the time.

“How do you not know? How do you not investigate?” Erickson wrote. “By 2002, everybody knew Duke was still the man he had claimed not to be. EVERYBODY.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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