House majority whip Steve Scalise may not have spoken to a conference of white nationalists in 2002 after all, even though he’s already apologized for doing so.
Kenny Knight, a longtime political adviser to former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana politician David Duke, told Bloomberg that Scalise spoke to a town hall at the same venue as the white nationalist event, before the latter event began.
Knight said he invited Scalise, then a state legislator, along with someone from the Red Cross and a sheriff’s representative, to speak to a civic organization before the European-American Unity and Rights Organization held their conference.
“I basically gave him a town-hall meeting to address constituents about legislation he was working on,” Knight said. “It was not a EURO-sponsored event. I sponsored the event as president of the local civic association.” EURO, a group of white nationalists started by David Duke, hosted the conference that Knight says Scalise did not attend; some attendees, Knight said, did show up to Scalise’s talk. Knight told a similar story today to Slate and the Daily Beast.
On Monday, Scalise’s staff confirmed to the Washington Post that he had attended the EURO-sponsored convention, but Scalise himself told the Times–Picayune on Tuesday he did not recall speaking at the event. Knight’s comments only add to the confusion about Scalise’s involvement in the white-nationalist event.
Today, Scalise received the support of several Republican colleagues — including House Speaker John Boehner and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal — as some suggested that he might have to resign his leadership posti n the House.