From where I sit, the worst thing new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is guilty of is lack of due diligence when he spoke to a white supremacist group while a Louisiana state representative in 2002. Granted, I’ve only been invited to speak to groups on a handful of occasions and I don’t think any white supremacists are going to be inviting someone named Goldstein to speak before them anytime soon. But when these occasions do arise, I do like to know about the organization which invites me. Scalise ought to have been more circumspect before accepting an invitation from a group with which he was unfamiliar.
But as Scott McKay indicates in his article on the main page today, Scalise has no history of racial animus and is not accused of making racist statements during that speech. Earlier today, Scalise stated that had he known David Duke was involved with the organization that had invited him then he would have declined the invitation.
The same cannot be said of longtime South Carolina Democrat Congressman James Clyburn. In March 2011, Clyburn, then House Majority Whip, appeared alongside the notoriously racist and anti-Semitic Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan at a forum in Pittsburgh. At the time, a spokesperson for Clyburn defended his participation stating:
He served side-by-side in Congress with arch segregationist and fellow-South Carolinian Strom Thurmond, as well as many other Members whose views and beliefs are starkly different from his own. He will participate on this panel to add to the meaningful discussion about the future of the black community, nothing more and nothing less.
I would love it if someone could tell me the difference between speaking in front of an organization founded by David Duke and appearing in public alongside Louis Farrakhan.
Of course, there were no calls from the liberal press for Clyburn to resign his position as House Majority Whip. Quel surprise. If you have an R in front of your name then it is a scarlet letter. But if you have D in front of your name then you can do as you please. Throw in the fact that Scalise is a white conservative and Clyburn is a black liberal only adds to the double standard.
Scalise is the third ranking Republican in the House while Clyburn is the third ranking Democrat in the House. As such, Scalise should only resign his position if Clyburn does the same.