The PJ Tatler

Calling Himself 'Liberal,' Duke Seizes Scandal Spotlight to Air Anti-Semitic Rant on Israel, Cantor

Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Louisiana state representative David Duke jumped on the breaking controversy yesterday about the House majority whip’s appearance at a conference of his group 12 years ago.

Duke called the Huffington Post after the story on Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) emerged in the Washington Post to compliment Scalise, declare himself a liberal and toss anti-Semitic invective at former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Scalise spoke at a Metairie, La., meeting of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Louisiana politician David Duke, in May 2002.

Scalise was a state assemblyman at the time, and was elected to Congress six years later. He led the Republican Study Committee caucus of conservatives until he moved into the majority whip post after Cantor’s primary defeat.

His spokeswoman first responded to the allegations and confirmed Scalise was there; the congressman followed up in a Q&A with The Times-Picayune in which he said he spoke to any group who wanted to hear about his opposition to a state tax plan.

“When you look at the kind of things they stand for, I detest these kinds of views. As a Catholic, I think some of the things they profess target people like me. At lot of their views run contradictory to the way I run my life,” Scalise told the paper, adding “if I knew today what they were about, I wouldn’t go. My staff, they are able to vet organizations.”

“At the end of the day, you are judged by your character. And look, I’m proud of my record of working to help people throughout my years of public service,” he said.

Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond has jumped to the defense of his home-state colleague. “I don’t think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body,” the African-American congressman told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Steve and I have worked on issues that benefit poor people, black people, white people, Jewish people. I know his character.”