CNN host Michael Smerconish asked former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke on Saturday to explain a recent promise that he would “name names” if politicians “crucified” Rep. Steve Scalise over a speech he gave at a 2002 convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.
Both Democrats and Republicans “in fact urged me to support them, and, in fact, I did,” and would “call them out if they [became] hypocritical” over the “Scalise situation.”
Here is a partial transcript, which starts at the 6:09 mark:
Smerconish: You said this week if he’s (Scalise) is crucified, I think that was your word of choice, that you’re going to name names. What are we talking about
Duke: I would name names of any Democrat or rep….I know some Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives who tried, in fact urged me to support them…and in fact I did..
Smerconish. In other words you are saying there are members in Congress today who have relationships with you…
Duke: …have had relationships
Smerconish. But they have chose to keep it private and you honor that
Duke: and that’s fine and I respect somebody’s privacy
Smerconish: but you would call them out
Duke: I would call them out if they would ..hypocritical
Duke made it clear, though, that any attempt to expose the hypocrites will be made to set the record straight, not to cover for a friend. He and Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, he said, aren’t exactly mutual admirers.
“I was not his supporter, he was not my supporter,” Duke said. “I did not contribute to him, he did not contribute to me, OK? He was not a member of my organization — he was an early young representative who just got elected in Louisiana, and he was pushing a tax program, and he was coming to constituents. And again, I believe that every elected official has a responsibility to hear out people who are right wing, left wing.”
Duke can’t verify whether Scalise spoke before the white supremacist group a decade ago, but he knows this: The mainstream media is hypocritical in chastising Scalise while giving the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd a pass for much worse: Scalise might have spoken to a white supremacist group, but Byrd was actually a leader of the Ku Klux Klan at the beginning of his political career.
“It’s really a biased situation,” Duke told Smerconish this week.
Scalise released a statement last week acknowledging that he made the speech, calling it a regrettable “mistake.”
“Twelve years ago, I spoke to many different Louisiana groups as a state representative, trying to build support for legislation that focused on cutting wasteful state spending, eliminating government corruption, and stopping tax hikes,” Scalise said in the statement, according to NPR. “One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn. It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”
Democrats, though, have pounced on the speech to embarrass Republicans after getting slaughtered at the ballot box in November. Smerconish only seemed too eager to pile on.
“Republicans can ill-afford the Scalise situation given their lack of recent success in making inroads in the minority community,” Smerconish said in setting up the question.
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