A member of the Congressional Black Caucus leadership said Monday that Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse markup of ObamaCare repeal bill up in the air Conservatives to Congress: Get moving Boehner: ObamaCare repeal and replace 'not going to happen' MORE (R-Ohio) should conduct an investigation into reports that House Majority Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke at a white supremacist event in 2002.
“It is quite disappointing to learn that in the Twenty-First Century, a member of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has, in the past and prior to his election to Congress, addressed a white nationalist organization with a history of hostility towards civil rights for people of color, particularly African-Americans, as well as members of the Jewish faith and immigrants,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
Clarke is the second vice chair of the CBC and one of five members to lead the group. The CBC has not issued a statement regarding the reports about Scalise’s speech.
On Sunday, the Louisiana politics blog CenLamar said that postings on a white nationalist forum indicated Scalise had spoken to a group in 2002 that had been created by notorious former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Scalise said in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune published Monday that, during that time period, he was accepting numerous speaking invitations to discuss his opposition to a tax plan in his capacity as a state representative.
Clarke called on Scalise to denounce the group’s beliefs. His office said that the group’s ideology is a “stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic” and Scalise said the suggestion he was involved with the group was “insulting.”
Other lawmakers — including Democratic congressman and CBC member Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.) — have defended Scalise, who ascended to the whip position earlier this year following then-Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorGOP shifting on immigration Breitbart’s influence grows inside White House Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote MORE's (R-Va.) primary loss.