GOP Leaders Are Done Talking About Scalise’s Hate Group Speech

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is joined by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, just after House Republicans voted to make McCarthy the new majority leader, replac... House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is joined by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, just after House Republicans voted to make McCarthy the new majority leader, replacing Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., who was defeated in his primary earlier this month, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Scalise was elected to be the new House majority whip, replacing McCarthy. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) MORE LESS
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House GOP leaders made clear at their first press conference of the new Congress Wednesday that they are finished talking about House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s 2002 speech to a white nationalist group.

The first question of the conference was directed at Scalise about the speech and the group’s founder, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

“I reject bigotry of all forms,” Scalise said. “I think when you see the people that know me best, both here and especially back home, people I’ve served with, including people that I’ve been on opposite ends politically with, who know the truth and know what’s in my heart, they’re the ones who I think speak the best.”

A follow-up question pressed Scalise on the controversy. He repeated that he rejected bigotry “of all kinds” and referred to his past statement in which he had apologized for speaking at the hate group’s meeting.

“I think that’s where the story ends,” Scalise said.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also reaffirmed his support for Scalise when asked if Scalise’s error in judgement in speaking to the group should have prevented him from serving in House leadership.

“I, like Mr. Scalise, served in the state legislature. I remember my freshman term in the state legislature when I had a half of a staffer,” Boehner said. “You get asked to speak to a lot of groups. I think Mr. Scalise made it clear that he made an error in judgement, spoke to a group, not clear who they actually were.”

“Now I know this man. I work with him. I know what’s in his heart,” Boehner continued. “He’s a decent, honest person who made a mistake. We’ve all made mistakes.”

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Notable Replies

  1. GOP can only hope that is the case - Racism doesn’t end when one quits talking about but just the opposite, racism in Congress ends when folks that promote it are removed from leadership positions.

  2. Translation - if we don’t have Scalise, whom amongst the bat shit crazy representatives from the South could be in a leadership roll? And without the South, we will LOSE!

  3. Avatar for xyxox xyxox says:

    They may not talk about it, but it will weigh heavily into the 2016 campaigns. Showing a bigot in the GOP leadership on ad after ad will have an effect.

  4. Avatar for mantan mantan says:

    half of a staffer

    Wasn’t this a Nuremberg War Crimes defense?

  5. Avatar for dswx dswx says:

    Of course that means the media most likely is too since they take their orders and talking points so often from the GOP.

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