Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke issued a warning to Republicans who have criticized House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) for speaking to a white nationalist group in 2002, saying they “better be looking over their shoulders.”
In an interview with Fusion, Duke said he has ties to politicians on both sides of the aisle, and he is ready to release names if criticism of Scalise continues:
Overall, Duke was rather flabbergasted by the new focus on Scalise. He said he has hosted both Democratic and Republican legislators at everything from conferences to his children’s birthday parties. He said he has met with Democratic legislators at least 50 times in his political life.
And he delivered a warning to both Republicans and Democrats: Treat Scalise fairly, and don’t try to make political hay out of the situation. Or he said he would be inclined to release a list of names of all the politicians — both Republicans and Democrats — with whom he has ties.
“If Scalise is going to be crucified — if Republicans want to throw Steve Scalise to the woods, then a lot of them better be looking over their shoulders,” Duke said.
Scalise has struggled to distance himself from Duke since a Louisiana blogger revealed earlier this week that the GOP leader had associated with the former KKK Grand Wizard and had spoken to a group Duke founded, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, in 2002.
“I didn’t know who all of these groups were, and I detest any kind of hate group,” Scalise said on Monday.
Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, said the news about Scalise’s 2002 speech is “acidic for the Republican Party.” But GOP leaders — including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — are standing by Scalise amid the controversy.