On Monday, Republican Representative Steven Scalise, the House majority whip and third most powerful GOP member of Congress, confirmed through an advisor that he spoke at a Louisiana conference called by white nationalist and neo-Nazi leaders in 2002. The exposure comes a week after Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud and days before the new Republican majority takes control of the House.
Organized by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), the 2002 conference was led by ex-Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Duke “told reporters in 2000 that white people in America were facing a ‘genocide,’ and wrote in a letter to the Shreveport Times that European Americans were ‘internally displaced people’ deserving of refugee status and government protection,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Duke, who soon after the conference pleaded guilty to mail fraud, moved to Moscow in the early 2000s “to struggle against people of other colors and Jews,” the SPLC notes.
A writer for EURO’s now nonfunctioning website, Ian Mosley, wrote in 2007, “The beautiful Germany of the 1930s with blonde children happily running through every village has been replaced with a multi-racial cesspool. Out of work Africans can be seen shuffling along the same streets, which used to be clean and safe in the days of the National Socialists.”
EURO’s 2002 conference in Metairie, Louisiana was titled the “2002 National/International EURO Workshop on Civil Rights.” Duke addressed the conference from Europe. In Louisiana, Duke’s protégé, Vincent Breeding, led the proceedings.
According to the Louisiana politics blog, CenLamar, which first broke the story, Breeding, whose real name is Bruce Alan Breeding, was previously a member of National Alliance. National Alliance’s leader Dr. William Pierce wrote Hunter, a 1989 novel whose protagonists carry out a bombing nearly identical to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The book was found among Timothy McVeigh’s possessions and is purported to have influenced him.
The Washington Post reported that Scalise’s “political circle” was working around the clock Monday night trying to describe Scalise’s 2002 actions as the work of a “disorganized and ill-prepared young politician who didn’t pay close attention to invitations.” Scalise told the local Times-Picayune, “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like this is insulting and ludicrous.” According to Scalise’s political team, Scalise would not have attended the event had he known its political content.
In fact, Scalise was a featured speaker at the event. A write-up on the white-supremacist site stormfront.org in 2002 , titled “A New Breeding of National Activism,” features Scalise’s speech prominently, not even mentioning Duke’s or Breeding’s remarks.
A large portion of the report discusses then-State Representative Scalise, who “brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent give-away to a selective group based on race.”
This is a significant quote because it punctures whatever claim Scalise has to being innocent of the politics of the event. Scalise, according to this attendee, put forward a racialist understanding of state politics that supported the white-nationalist agenda of the conference. Later, EURO gave support for Scalise’s run for the 1st Congressional District of Louisiana, stating, “If Duke does not make the election for whatever reason, this gentleman would be a good alternative.”
The Washington Post reports that local organizations were well aware of the conference back in 2002, with a local sports team worried about staying at the same hotel as the conference, fearing for the safety of their African American members. In the words of Lamar White, who publishes CenLamar, “Unless Steve Scalise is totally incompetent, he knew exactly where he was headed when he parked his car in the lot in front of the Landmark Best Western.”
These revelations underscore a dirty secret of American politics, concealed by the mass media and both of the principal political parties, namely the intimate connections between the Republican Party and extreme rightwing and fascistic organizations.
In 1999 it was revealed that Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), a member of the house Judiciary Committee and one of the prosecutors in the Clinton impeachment trial, was a keynote speaker at a convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). The CCC is a white supremacist group with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and neo-fascist groups.
During this same exposure, Trent Lott, the Senate Majority Leader, and Republican from Mississippi, was revealed to also have links to the CCC. In the CCC’s publication, The Citizen Informer, various racist, anti-Semitic, and fascistic diatribes have been penned. One CCC columnist wrote in 1998, “Any effort to destroy the race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy Western civilization itself.” In 2002, Lott expressed regret that Strom Thurmond, of the segregationist States Rights Party, did not win the 1948 presidential election.