On Wednesday, writing for MSNBC, columnist Jarvis DeBerry tore into House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) for his ongoing refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election — and reminded readers that this high-ranking GOP leader once spoke an an event that was associated with an unrepentant Ku Klux Klan leader.
Scalise drew controversy on Sunday after he repeatedly was asked on Fox News by Chris Wallace whether the election was stolen, and dodged the question, simply claiming the election was problematic because states relaxed some voting rules as an emergency COVID-19 measure.
"He was pointed, though, when he defended the changes — otherwise known as election suppression efforts — that Republicans have been implementing since they lost last year. 'When you see states like Georgia cleaning up the mess and people calling that Jim Crow law, that's a flat-out lie,'" wrote DeBerry. "Scalise must surely hate that journalists have such long memories. He once described himself — to a reporter, no less — as being 'like David Duke without the baggage,' and in 2014, when a Louisiana journalist broke the news that Scalise, more than a decade earlier, had spoken to a whites rights organization created by Duke at an event organized by Duke's campaign manager and political adviser, the organizer told The Washington Post that 'Steve knew who I was, but I don't think he held it against me.'"
Scalise said his speech before the European-American Unity and Rights Organization in 2002 was a mistake and that he was unaware of the group's racist ties.
"Before Jan. 6, pretending that Trump won was spineless. Doing so after a Trump cult invaded the U.S. Capitol in a deadly act of insurrection is abominable," concluded DeBerry — but, he wrote, he doesn't care, because, "If Scalise doesn't help his party undermine democracy, then how will his party ever win big again?"
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