House majority whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) said it’s “insulting and ludicrous” to suggest that his speaking in 2002 at a conference organized by a white-supremacist group indicates his support for the group.
“I don’t have any records from back in 2002, but when people called and asked me to speak to groups, I went and spoke to groups,” Scalise told the Times-Picayune. “When you look at the kind of things they stand for, I detest these kinds of views. As a Catholic, I think some of the things they profess target people like me.”
Scalise told the Times–Picayune that he was the only state legislator in the New Orleans area who opposed a tax plan being debated in 2002, and he canvassed the region speaking out against the plan. He noted that he spoke to “any group that called,” including liberal groups such as the League of Women Voters. While Scalise said that he will continue to speak to groups of people who disagree with him, he said that he would not speak to a white-supremacist group today.
The story about Scalise’s appearance at a white-supremacist event in 2002 surfaced on a left-leaning Louisiana blog just as Republicans are set to gain control of both chambers when the new Congress is seated in January 2015.