GOP’s New House Majority Whip Was ‘Honored Guest’ At 2002 White Supremacist Convention

After Eric Cantor’s career-ending defeat in his primary race, the Republican Party scrambled to pick a new Majority Whip. They settled on Steve Scalise (R-LA) a relatively young congressman who had little experience, but was carried through by overwhelming support from fellow Southerners who wanted one of “their guys” in the role. Today, two things become clear: Scalise is a friend of the white supremacist movement and Republican leaders are probably really wishing they vetted the guy a bit more.

The United States House Majority Whip is a role that is perhaps one of the most powerful in Washington. Despite a relatively brief tenure in Congress, Scalise has poised himself as a bit of a rising star in the Republican Party. However, he also seems to have quite a few fans in the white power movement.

The Louisiana political website CenLamar stumbled across some pretty damning evidence. In posts made on the infamous white supremacist website Stormfront all the way back in 2002, the group discusses holding an international convention in New Orleans. Their goal was to establish new ways of branding and promoting their ideas without it sounding too much like… well… white supremacism. David Duke, a now-disgraced legislator from Louisana and former KKK leader, was instrumental in organizing the event.

It’s in this context that they casually mention an up-and-coming Republican politician named Steve Scalise, then a State Representative, as having attended and held “productive meetings” with the group:

In addition to plans to implement tactical strategies that were discussed, the meeting was productive locally as State Representative, Steve Scalise, discussed ways to oversee gross mismanagement of tax revenue or “slush funds” that have little or no accountability. 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.

Scalise appears to have really revved the white power crowds engines by nodding to government programs that favor minorities, a perennial favorite topic for bigots who like to think of that as reverse-racism. In a way, it’s the perfect marriage: Scalise gets to push his “small government” ideology and racists in the audience get to see it as hurting the minority groups they dislike.

The performance at their neo-Nazi convention must have been pretty memorable for the group, because years later, the same group was promoting Scalise to run in place of their fallen leader David Duke (who was, by this point, behind bars for mail and tax fraud).

It was just announced that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson will enter the race in the 1st Congressional District. Those that attended the EURO conference in New Orleans will recall that Scalise was a speaker, offering his support for issues that are of concern to us.

I suppose if Duke does not make the election for whatever reason, this gentleman would be a good alternative.

Scalise won that election (he certainly had the racist vote), and the rest is history. If the posts are authentic (and they come from 2002 and 2003, when Scalise was still a small-fry so there is hardly any motive for them to be fake), Scalise will have some serious explaining to do. As CenLamar concludes:

[W]hy was Scalise even there in the first place? He can’t pretend like he was confused and just stumbled into the wrong conference due to a scheduling error or a drug-induced hallucination, and he can’t feign ignorance about the organization; their acronym may have been vague, but their agenda was crystal clear. Unless Steve Scalise is totally incompetent, he knew exactly where he was headed when he parked his car in the lot in front of the Landmark Best Western.

Bad news for a political party that keeps trying to insist that it has moved beyond racism. The Republican Party may like to flirt with radical-right groups, especially when it means bashing President Obama, but to have Scalise in a leadership role? That can’t be good.


Feature image courtesy Steve Scalise/Flickr