A civil rights group protested today outside a fundraiser for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise after it was revealed that Scalise once spoke as a guest at a white supremacist conference.
It was in 2002 that Scalise spoke at a conference for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, known as EURO, which was founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
More than a decade later, the decision has emerged to haunt him.
A civil rights organization, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, announced that it would be protesting at a Capitol Hill fundraiser for Scalise scheduled for Tuesday. But the National Journal reported that barely a dozen protesters braved the cold to make their statement, which the Journal took as an indication that the Scalise controversy is losing steam.
Holding posters with message such as “Republicans how’s that rebranding going?” they chanted “racist, sexist, anti-gay. KKK go away,” as many of Scalise’s Republican colleagues funneled into an afternoon fundraiser, the Journal reported.
“We are not going away,” said Aaron Black, a protester and local activist who held a giant banner with Scalise’s face on it that said “Steve Scalise: David Duke without the baggage?”
Jason Kimelman-Block, a rabbi affiliated with Bend the Arc Jewish Action, told the Journal they still wanted Scalise to step down.
“It’s an ongoing effort. We would like Rep. Scalise to know that we are watching, we haven’t forgotten, we haven’t moved on,” Kimelman-Block said.
“Rep. Steve Scalise is moving full steam ahead with his fundraising plan despite the fallout from a speech that he gave to a white supremacist group,” the group wrote on a Facebook post. “It is of particular concern to us that a member chosen to be part of the Majority’s leadership team in the US House of Representatives, whose responsibilities include protecting the interests of all Americans, would legitimize the existence of such a group.”
The post also said that “Speaker Boehner and GOP donors have an important choice to make.”
“They can disavow white supremacy, strip Steve Scalise of his leadership role and stand up to David Duke; or they can leave Scalise in power and confirm that Republicans are unwilling to confront racism in their own party,” the post continued.
This group isn’t the first to voice their frustrations with Scalise in the midst of this controversy.
Other groups have asked Scalise to meet with him in order for him to explain his appearance at the conference, while others show no interest in an explanation and simply want him removed from his position.
Scalise has apologized for the appearance and claims that he had no idea he was speaking at a conference for a white supremacy group.
It’s a claim that has fallen on deaf ears as the National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights slammed the claim as “implausible.”
A spokeswoman for Scalise declined to comment on the matter.