House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) is currently dealing with a scandal over his appearance at a white supremacist conference in 2002. Scalise, then a state representative in Louisiana, was invited by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, founded by former KKK leader David Duke, to appear at the conference and speak. Scalise has not denied that he spoke at the convention. However, he has claimed that he was fully unaware of the convention’s purpose or that EURO is a white nationalist group, stating that at the time he met with any group that invited him to speak.
As Scalise struggles to distance himself from Duke, EURO and his involvement with a racist conference twelve years ago, he has found at least one ally who will vouch for his character — Rep. Steve King (R-IA). King, the Tea Party firebrand who has made a name for himself by constantly spouting offensively racist comments about Hispanics, thinks Scalise was just understaffed at the time and didn’t realize what he was doing. At the same time, King, in an interview Monday, compared Scalise to Jesus Christ and seemed to imply Scalise had surrounded himself with sinners to lead them to the light. Or something.
Per the Washington Post, King said the following:
“Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, it’s the sick. Given that piece of Scripture, and understanding that Scalise probably wasn’t staffed thoroughly, I could understand how something like this happened. But I know his heart, I’ve painted houses with him post-Katrina, and I know he is a good man.”
Ummm, OK. So, because Scalise helped another racist paint houses for some photo-ops after a hurricane, he’s a good man beyond reproach and should be compared to Jesus? Sounds ’bout right.
Meanwhile, even though Scalise is doing his best to show he has no relationship with Duke, the ex-KKK Grand Dragon spoke out late Monday night stating he has met with Scalise several times. Ironically, Duke also used Christ-like imagery when speaking about Scalise to Fusion, saying Republicans better be careful about vilifying him due to his association with Duke.
“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.”
According to Duke, politicians from all across the spectrum need to be careful about trying to make political hay over Scalise’s association with him as he’s willing to release the names of others he’s met with. In terms of threats, this one wasn’t even veiled.
The Washington Post reported that Duke said he doesn’t remember Scalise being at the conference in question as he did not hear him speak since Duke corresponded remotely via phone and video. However, he said he learned from two of his associates that he was invited and attended the event.