House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) admitted this week that he spoke 12 years ago to a meeting of a white nationalist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
However, the Louisiana Republican was adamant in a Monday interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper that he had no knowledge of the group's hateful views when he spoke at its 2002 convention. An adviser to Duke said he personally invited Scalise to speak at the meeting. The adviser, Kenny Knight, insisted the congressman had not been not aware of the nature of Duke's group, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.
Yet Duke was already notorious in Louisiana politics for mounting several unsuccessful bids for state office from the late 1970s to the 1990s. (He did pull off a runoff election victory for a state House seat in 1989).
Duke's nativist and anti-Semitic views were common knowledge nationwide before the 2002 EURO convention as well, which raises questions about how Scalise could have been ignorant about the kind of audience he was speaking to at the time.
As RedState.com editor Erick Erickson wrote on Monday: "By 2002, everybody knew Duke was still the man he had claimed not to be. EVERYBODY."
Here's a sampling of the things that were widely known about Duke and his group at the time of the conference:
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