The charge that Steve Scalise (R-LA) spoke at a David Duke organization was something of a surprise. He just doesn’t seen like them kind of guy who would do such a thing.
It turns out that he didn’t.
His office issued a statement:
“One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn,” he said.
“It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”
Fellow Congressman Cedric Richmond(D-LA), who is black, issued his own statement:
“I don’t think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body,” Richmond, who is African American, told the paper. “Steve and I have worked on issues that benefit poor people, black people, white people, Jewish people. I know his character.”
He added: “I am not going to let them use Steve as a scapegoat to score political points when I know him and know his family,” Richmond said.
But what I found curious was that Scalise could not remember speaking for the group. He could either have been lying or maybe he really didn’t remember. Lying is not characteristic for Scalise. Duke didn’t really remember either. Finally, the truth emerges. Scalise did not speak to EURO:
Kenny Knight, the former campaign manager for onetime Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, said in an interview that he invited Scalise to speak to the civic group in the same hotel room used by Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization, but that it took place hours before the start of the white nationalists’ meeting. Knight said he secured the hotel facilities for Duke’s group, then invited the civic association, which he says he led, to meet about a string of neighborhood break-ins and other local issues while enjoying some of the coffee and cookies set out for Duke’s group.
“I basically gave him a town-hall meeting to address constituents about legislation he was working on,” said Knight, 65. “There were also other people who spoke before the civic association that day. One was from the Red Cross who talked about CPR. Another was Steve Scalise and there was a member of the local sheriff’s department on instituting a crime watch group in our neighborhood. Steve and those folks spoke before the conference of EURO. It was not a EURO-sponsored event. I sponsored the event as president of the local civic association.”
Knight explained the Internet post of an apparent EURO attendee about Scalise’s speech as “crossover in the hospitality room.”
“Some of the EURO members who came from out of town came to the hospitality room and sat in the audience,” Knight said. “Maybe a handful of the 25 people or so in the room were from EURO. The rest were all people from the neighborhood.”
Even the folks at Slate agree:
Knight said on Tuesday that it’s “totally incorrect” to say Scalise spoke at that convention.
“He spoke early in the day to a contingent of people, prior to the conference kicking off,” Knight said. “He was not there as a guest speaker at the conference.”
According to Knight, he and Scalise were neighbors in 2002, living in the Old Jefferson neighborhood outside New Orleans. They were friendly and lived within a few blocks of each other. Knight recalls that Scalise would beep the horn and wave at him if he drove by in his car.
“Now and then I’d see him at a Republican function, we’d say hello, but we never exchanged any philosophy ideas,” Knight said.
Scalise did not speak for EURO:
According to Knight, the EURO conference was slated to start in the early afternoon, roughly around 1 p.m. But his reservation at the hotel gave him access to the conference space for a few hours before the event’s official kickoff. At the time, Knight headed the Jefferson Heights Civic Association, which was largely comprised of elderly people who lived in his and Scalise’s neighborhood.
Knight said he set up a morning event for his own civic association in the hotel space before the EURO conference started. Though that event was in the conference’s hospitality room, it wasn’t at all related to the EURO event, he said.
“It was my room to do what I want with it,” he said.
Knight invited then–state Rep. Scalise as well as a representative from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and a person from the American Red Cross to speak to the civic association at the hotel. Knight said he thinks the Red Cross speaker was from a local chapter but didn’t remember specifically. He also said he didn’t remember the names of either of the other speakers. The representative from the sheriff’s department spoke to attendees about a neighborhood watch program, and the person from the Red Cross discussed CPR techniques. Scalise also spoke.
There were no banners, no signs. That would easily explain why Scalise could not remember it. It also puts the lie to the outright scummy comments made by democrats such as the one made by the despicable Josh Schwerin of the DCCC:
“Steve Scalise chose to cheerlead for a group of KKK members and neo-Nazis at a white supremacist rally and now his fellow House Republican leaders can’t even speak up and say he was wrong,”
So who would promote such a dastardly hit piece?
A liberal, of course. Scott Mackay:
It turns out the story about Scalise’s purported white supremacist addresses which appeared at White’s blog didn’t come from White’s research but instead has been shopped around for months by a woman named Gilda Reed, a professor at UNO and a some-time contributor to the left-wing Daily Kos website, and her son Robert – whom our readers might recognize from this little nugget we put on display Monday…
Scalise has, in fact, been libeled by Lamar White and slandered by the Reeds.
In other words, we have a “major national story” arising out of old, unused campaign dirt by a hapless mother-son pair of left-wing nuts still smarting from a six-year-old trouncing which was never acted on before, and an eyewitness to Scalise’s appearance who actually made the invitation for him to speak has now come forward to say virtually nothing of the original story is accurate – that in fact Scalise was giving an innocuous fiscal policy speech he’d given countless times across the state to a local civic association audience in his own legislative district with no knowledge his audience would be comprised of conferees from a white nationalist organization that Scalise has had no evident association with.
You’ll want to be sure to read the whole piece at The Hayride.
And the Slate piece, as well.
This is one more major embarrassment for the left media who seized upon this phony story with great gusto. At one point it occupied a major portion of Memeorandum as the left collectively wet itself over this farce. All the usual suspects were there.
This the same media absolutely with dripping bias that totally steadfastly ignored Barack Obama’s bathing himself with the presence of the New Black Panthers in 2007.
The situations are almost analogous except that the NBPP uniforms are considerably easier to identify.
The swallowing whole of this story is one more milestone on the road to left wing media obsolescence.