The advisor to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke who invited House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) to a 2002 white nationalist meeting now asserts that Scalise never actually spoke at the meeting.
Kenny Knight, who once served as national director of the European-American Unity and Rights Association, told Slate on Tuesday that Scalise “was not there as a guest speaker at the (EURO) conference.”
That was after Knight was quoted by the Washington Post earlier in the day saying he asked Scalise “to be the first speaker before the meeting kicked off.”
“He spoke early in the day to a contingent of people, prior to the conference kicking off,” Knight told Slate’s Betsy Woodruff. “He was not there as a guest speaker at the conference.”
In a statement that seems at odds with one he gave to the Post, Knight added that he himself “wasn’t really involved with the actual conference itself.”
Earlier, Knight had told the Post that he “organized the EURO meeting for David Duke as a courtesy after he had moved to Russia. I’ve known David for 40 years so I did him a favor. As part of that, I decided to ask Steve, our local representative, to come by and say a few words before the conference started.”
“He agreed, believing it was going to be neighbors, friends, and family,” he continued. “He saw me not as David Duke’s guy, but as the president of our civic association.”
Knight told Slate that Scalise had actually spoke to the Jefferson Heights Civic Association — not EURO — in the same conference room where the meeting for the latter would later be held. He said more than two-thirds of the people in the room when Scalise spoke were not EURO members.
He insisted the two were separate, though Knight had previously to the Post cast his inviting Scalise “as part of” organizing the white nationalist event.
“That is not what happened. I’ll take a lie-detector test,” he said when asked by Slate if he asked Scalise speak to EURO. “That is not what happened.”
Despite Knight’s claims, Scalise seemed to confirm in his own statement on Tuesday that he had attended the meeting, calling it “a mistake I regret.”
“Twelve years ago, I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state representative, trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting the wasteful state spending, eliminating government corruption, and stopping tax hikes,” he said. “One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn.”
In yet another interview, Knight told the Daily Beast that he was unhappy with the media coverage, specifically alleging that the Post’s Robert Costa misquoted him. He told the Beast he wanted to “bust [Costa’s] head open.”