Here’s a lesson for you, all you aspiring politicos. When you didn’t do something, don’t admit to it. Also, when scheduling your candidate to appear in hotel ballrooms, check the rest of the hotel’s schedule. And for that matter, unless you’re enjoying the culture, music and potent potables of New Orleans, just stay the hell out of Louisiana. Even if you’re from there.
Although, yesterday, it was rather clear that Steve Scalise had given a keynote address to a room full of Neo-Nazi continental breakfast afficianados, today, it seems that he might have merely been the victim of bad hotel record keeping. According to Kenny Knight, the white supremacist who organized the annual “EURO Convention,” Steve Scalise wasn’t actually on the schedule for the event itself. Instead, Scalise spoke to a group of community activists that Knight also organizes, and which Scalise also happened to be a part of, but who are less “White Power” and more “Tuesday Night Bingo.”
Knight said on Tuesday that it’s “totally incorrect” to say Scalise spoke at that convention.
“He spoke early in the day to a contingent of people, prior to the conference kicking off,” Knight said. “He was not there as a guest speaker at the conference.”
According to Knight, he and Scalise were neighbors in 2002, living in the Old Jefferson neighborhood outside New Orleans. They were friendly and lived within a few blocks of each other. Knight recalls that Scalise would beep the horn and wave at him if he drove by in his car.
“Now and then I’d see him at a Republican function, we’d say hello, but we never exchanged any philosophy ideas,” Knight said.
Apparently, Neo-Nazis also need event management and Knight was put in charge of booking the hotel conference space and setting up refreshments for EURO conference attendees. Since he had to book the space for the whole day, he decided to use the space for Jefferson Civic Heights Association’s annual meeting, invited his neighbors, Rep. Steve Scalise, a representative from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Association (who chatted about neighborhood watch) and a speaker from the Red Cross (who instructed attendees in CPR). There was bleed over from one event to the next, white supremacist one, but according to Knight, it was pretty minimal (though, to be fair, Knight also claims that the EURO conference is just a simple meeting of middle-aged Christians).
Of course, Scalise has still publicly admitted to addressing the convention. No matter what, it’s still an error in judgment, and Scalise’s relationship with Knight is questionable at best. But it’s a lot less overtly problematic if he just, say, happened to stay a little longer at a speech to chat over tea and cookies with a bunch of his neighbors and a couple of people who think Hitler was just misunderstood. Not a lot, but less.
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