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SPLC Hatewatch: Rep. Scalise’s denials are not believable

The incoming majority whip in the U.S. House says he didn’t know the views of a racist group founded by neo-Nazi David Duke when he spoke to it in 2002. But as the SPLC’s Mark Potok writes, his claim is impossible to believe. Scalise was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and EURO was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.

Faced with an exploding crisis sparked by the revelation that the No. 3 Republican in the House gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis a dozen years ago, the GOP in Rep. Steve Scalise’s home state of Louisiana is doubling down, calling the entire episode a mere “manufactured blogger story.”

Really? A manufactured blogger story?

Scalise claimed yesterday that he had no idea of the views promoted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), whose workshop he addressed in 2002 at a hotel in Metairie, La. And he was backed by an array of Louisiana Republicans including state GOP chair Roger Villere Jr., who described Scalise as “a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his life.” Villere dismissed the story broken by Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr. as “an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man.”

But Scalise’s claim of ignorance is almost impossible to believe. He was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and EURO already was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.

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