Even David Duke thinks the Steve Scalise story is “insane.”
But he’s still using it to deliver a message to politicians of both parties: Go easy or get ready for some bad publicity.
The former KKK leader who was last in the national spotlight during an unsuccessful run for governor in Louisiana more than 30 years ago is back in the news again, thanks to a Democrat website’s story on Sunday about the new House majority whip giving a speech to one of Duke’s groups in 2002.
The mainstream media picked up the story, making the tale of a state lawmaker’s speech about Louisiana tax policy in 2002 seem to be the biggest saga in American politics in the final hours of 2014.
“Why is Scalise being singled out? I don’t know,” Duke said, according to Fusion.net. “He was just going there, obviously, to tell voters about some of his initiatives on some tax matters. That’s what it’s all about. And I think it’s insane, this whole process.”
Most of the American political world has felt the same about the same about Duke for most of the past three decades, but that doesn’t mean he has been completely out of the picture. His trip to Tehran for a Holocaust-denying conference back in 2006 for instance, featured Jew-hating quotes that wouldn’t have too been out of place in cocktail talk at a Democratic National Convention.
“The Zionists have used the Holocaust as a weapon to deny the rights of the Palestinians and cover up the crimes of Israel,” Duke said at the time, according to Fox News.
In the Fusion interview, Duke sounded puzzled by his own return to the news.
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.
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