The conference, which was held at the Landmark Hotel in Metairie, created some controversy so the organizers decided to limit attendance to members who paid a fee. In the end, only 50 people attended and Duke participated via conference call.
During this time, Scalise was a conservative state representative barnstorming across Louisiana opposing the “Stelly” tax plan and calling for welfare reform. At this time in his career, he had one staffer and accepted practically all speaking invitations.
In fact, Scalise was right to oppose the tax plan which was so onerous that it was eventually repealed by the Louisiana Legislature. Undoubtedly, Scalise spoke to the group about his legislative proposals and not about race. Scalise said that he does not recall speaking to the group and does not subscribe to the group's views. He made it clear that he detests “any kind of hate group.”
The only reason this speech is now garnering attention, after 12 years, is that Scalise is the House Majority Whip, with the third most influential position in Congress. The story was initially reported by a liberal blogger based in Louisiana. Since then, it has been excitedly promoted by the national news media, especially far left outlets like MSNBC and Bloomberg News. The Washington Post has delved into the story and even contacted Duke, who noted that he had no relationship with Scalise.
The real story is whether Scalise is a racist for attending this event. Of course anyone who knows Scalise knows he is anything but a racist. His congressional colleague, U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans), has given Scalise a very strong defense, claiming that he does not have “a racist bone in his body.” According to Richmond, “I am not going to let them use Steve as a scapegoat to score political points when I know him and know his family.”
Congratulations to Richmond for putting aside partisanship and defending a good man. This entire “controversy” is an attempt to discredit Scalise, who is a rising star in the Republican Party.
Clearly this will backfire because Scalise has a strong track record of service to his constituents. He has served honorably in the Louisiana Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Throughout his career, he has worked to advance conservatism, not racism.
In the meantime, while Scalise has to withstand this unfair attack, President Obama is not criticized in the mainstream news media for meeting at the White House 82 times with infamous racist and agitator Reverend Al Sharpton. Obama also spent 20 years as a close associate with his racist, anti-Semite pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Once again this whole episode exposes the double standard so prevalent in our liberal news media.