Disgraced Republican Whip Steve Scalise Has Ties To Another Hate Group

The Republican Party’s brand new House Majority Whip barely lasted half a year before running into scandal. Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise was exposed as having given a talk at a white supremacist rally in New Orleans back in 2002 when he was just an aspiring state politician who didn’t mind dealing with unapologetic racists if it meant climbing up the political food chain.

In the days following the revelations, the media has begun to scrutinize other aspects of Scalise’s political career and none of it is particularly savory. For example, given his history with pandering to racists, it was less than surprising to find that he was one of the few politicians (even in Deep South Louisiana) who threw a fit when the state tried to name Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday. He voted against the bill. Twice.

Remarkably, Republican leadership has thus far stood behind Scalise after he apologized for stumping for racists and swore he didn’t share their beliefs. It’s even possible that Scalise may weather this scandal with his job intact. Despite the preponderance of evidence against him, the media has been willing to give him a pass after a person at the 2002 convention – who is himself a white supremacist and friend of former KKK leader David Duke – claimed Scalise gave his speech in a separate area from the racist part and probably didn’t know he was speaking to a group of neo-Nazis. Sure.

But with all the added exposure, other skeletons were bound to turn up in Scalise’s closet. One of those skeletons is his affiliation with the Family Research Council.

Scalise is a regular guest and longtime supporter of Tony Perkins, who heads up the FRC. The group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as specializing exclusively in “defaming gays and lesbians” through false claims, targeted bullying campaigns and pushing anti-gay junk science. In the clearest definition of the word, the FRC is a hate group. It’s an organization which has just one mission: gay bashing. Scalise is a big fan.

Naturally, the idea that a Republican politician would pal around with homophobic hate groups isn’t as controversial as giving speeches to neo-Nazis, but it should be. Scalise won’t be condemned for lending credence to a guy like Perkins, who frequently says things about gay people like “To me, that is the height of hatred, to be silent when we know there are individuals that are engaged in activity, behavior, and an agenda that will destroy them and our nation.” And that says a lot about just how stuck in the past the Republican Party truly is.

They discreetly pander to racists and hope they won’t get caught, but when it comes to anti-gay bigots, they don’t even try to hide their admiration for them. Many within the party are themselves anti-gay. The official Republican Party platform – written in 2012, but reads like it’s from the 1950s – makes a point of saying the GOP is firmly for “traditional marriage” and claims “studies” have shown that gay parents are typically harmful for children – the same kinds of bunk science that the FRC loves to promote.

As people continue to dig around Scalise’s past, it seems likely that more of his questionable relationships will come to light – given his history, we may be in store for another scandal or two.

Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr