GOP Leaders Back Scalise in White Supremacy Gaffe

Boehner, others issue statements of support for House majority whip
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2014 7:38 PM CST
GOP Leaders Back Scalise in White Supremacy Gaffe
House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, both in forefront, in a file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Majority Whip Steve Scalise is still taking heat after admitting that he spoke to a white supremacy group years ago, but it looks like the No. 3 GOP leader in the House will be sticking around: That's because Nos. 1 and 2 gave him their support today. "More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate," said House Speaker John Boehner. He called Scalise "a man of high integrity and good character" and said he "has my full confidence." House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a similar statement, though the Hill thinks both leave room for an about-face if the scandal grows.

Scalise himself reiterated that he had no idea what the European-American Unity and Rights Organization—founded by former KKK leader David Duke—was all about when he spoke to members 12 years ago. But not all fellow conservatives are buying it. "How Do You Show Up at a David Duke Event and Not Know What It Is?" asks the headline of a column by Erick Erickson at RedState. Both the Hill and the New York Times note that Trent Lott had to resign as Senate GOP leader in 2002 after lamenting that Strom Thurmond didn't win the 1948 presidential election as a segregationist. Scalise, meanwhile, received support from black members of Congress, including Rep. Mia Love, a Republican, and Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Scalise's state of Louisiana. "He's got a chance to write his own history going forward now," Richmond tells the Times. (Read more Steve Scalise stories.)

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