You know, for a few hours there, we were starting to wonder if Steve Scalise had been waterboarded at Guantanamo. You know Gitmo — the place where we send people to extract false confessions, and misleading or useless information under torture. Granted, we didn’t see any evidence of that on December 30th, when House Republican Whip Scalise apologized for attending a white supremacist conference in 2002. But then again, we never saw below the waist; and after a New Orleans Times-Picayune article two days ago, we were starting to wonder if Scalise might have had an “enhanced interrogation” tube stuck up there somewhere.
The Times article in question (later picked up by Slate) quoted a “former” political advisor to Klan leader David Dukes, by the name of Kenny “White” Knight (pictured above). Knight had worked on Dukes’ political campaigns in the 1980s and according to him, he still maintained a social friendship with the man. While Knight claims he is not and never was a member of Dukes’ white supremacist EURO group, he still decided to do a favor for his old Klan friend.
According to Knight, he had booked the conference room for Dukes’ group as a favor; and since he’d already rented the space, he decided to hold his Jefferson Heights Civic Association meeting there on the same day. He claims he invited his friend and neighbor Steve Scalise to speak for the JHCA, which was “largely comprised of elderly people who lived in his and Scalise’s neighborhood.” According to Knight, in no uncertain terms:
“Steve Scalise did not address a EURO conference…The conference was two-and-a-half hours later.” And that at the Civic Association meeting “There were no (EURO) signs. There were no banners.”
Of course, the conservative media jumped all over it:
The Times-Picayune itself all but called the story a liberal hoax by blogger Lamar White, and later sloppy reporting on the part of The Washington Post. Something tells us Times reporter Julia O’Donoghue won’t be getting a job in D.C. anytime soon.
But, the Time-Picayune redeemed itself the next day, when reporter (and member of the liberal media conspiracy) Rebecca Catalanello uncovered that Kenny Knight is, in fact, a big, fat LIAR.
From the Times article:
“Kenny Knight told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune on Wednesday that he was not a member of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, but documents filed with the Louisiana secretary of state’s office list him as treasurer of its predecessor, the National Organization for European American Rights, in 2000.
Further, a May 16, 2002, news release on an an archived version of EURO’s former website, www.whitecivilrights.com, lists Knight as “EURO Louisiana State Representative Kenny Knight.” The release says Knight was expected to address the group’s May 17-18, 2002, conference.”
And it gets better.
Not just because apparently (according to that press release) white supremacists these days are calling themselves “civil rights activists.” Kind of like Darren Wilson supporters. Which is hilarious enough. Funnier still is the revelation that this press release simultaneously reveals that there’s no way Steve Scalise couldn’t have known it was David Duke’s event, and that he never would have been there if he’d known. Even Kenny Knight admits
“I can’t think of any politician who wanted to be in the same room as David Duke.”
And he’s right. Scalise didn’t stand in the room with David Duke. Because even though Duke actually spoke at the EURO conference, he wasn’t “in the room,” per se. Duke spoke at the conference…
Live via JUMBOTRON!
“EURO National President David Duke will speak via teleconference from the International Conference on Human Rights in Moscow, Russia, to both groups.”
For the moment, let’s just set aside questions of why an American white supremacist was living in Moscow in 2002. We’ll just assume it was because he was riding bareback with shirtless Vladimir Putin at the time. But the takeaways are these:
- Kenny Knight lied about Steve Scalise speaking at the white supremacist event.
- Scalise did speak at the event, per his own admission.
- And there’s no way he couldn’t have known who was throwing it, based on the fifteen-foot-high talking head projected Orson Welles-style on the wall.
But, let’s not judge Steve too harshly. There’s no sense standing on principle, denouncing an open hate group when you need their votes to stay in office. Pandering to Neo-Nazis and Klansmen by headlining one of their events doesn’t make Steve Scalise a bad guy. It just makes him a Republican. Kenny Knight himself sums it up best:
“Poor Steve Scalise is a good man. A good, Christian man…He was just there to speak with his constituents.”
Amen to that.
No hummus tube required.