What started out as an embarrassing (possibly career-ending) snafu for a single House Republican, is now turning into a full-fledged GOP-wide meltdown.
David Duke, the former KKK “Grand Wizard” and disgraced Louisiana politician, is really upset that the media has been singling out House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for giving a speech at one of his white supremacist conferences in 2002. His ire seems directed not at liberals (whom he presumably discounts as stooges) but at other Republicans for not standing by their colleague. It’s unclear what Duke wishes they would do.
While every Republican politician who has publicly commented has condemned the white supremacist event, most have stuck by Scalise. House Speaker John Boehner even released a statement saying he can vouch that Scalise isn’t a racist (although it’s unclear how much a certified “not racist” voucher by Boehner actually gets you):
“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans.”
Nonetheless, Duke is livid that the “Zionist” media and Republicans are concerned about Scalise’s speech. Speaking with Fusion.net, Duke said the condemnation for Scalise’s attendance at the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) event was “insane.”
“Why is Scalise being singled out? I don’t know,” Duke said. “He was just going there, obviously, to tell voters about some of his initiatives on some tax matters. That’s what it’s all about. And I think it’s insane, this whole process.”
Scalise has insisted that he “didn’t know” he was speaking to unapologetic racists, although the snippets of his speech that have leaked online suggest he was at least aware of what topics would get this group he supposedly knew nothing about fired up. His talk was on how government programs were favoring minorities over white people… gee, I wonder how that went over?
Representative Scalise brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent give-away to a selective group based on race.
Duke calls the attacks on Scalise “bullshit,” and says that he finds people calling him a racist equally offensive:
“I’ve grown up. And I understand who the real racists are,” Duke said in a phone interview on Monday, saying a “zionist” and “tribalist” mentality throughout the press and media was mostly to blame for the negative portrayal of him.
But the real anger didn’t start until he turned on the Republicans who are now disavowing Duke to distance themselves from Scalise. In a turn that can only backfire spectacularly, Duke threatened conservatives with revealing the names of politicians he has secret ties with if they don’t start standing up for Scalise.
“If Scalise is going to be crucified — if Republicans want to throw Steve Scalise to the woods, then a lot of them better be looking over their shoulders.”
Do tell, Mr. Duke. We’d love to hear about who else likes attending your racist rallies!