Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came to the defense of Rep. Steve Scalise on Sunday over Scalise’s reported speech to a white supremacist group in 2002. Gingrich noted that when President Barack Obama was first running for the White House in 2008 he was dogged by complaints he had attended sermons by his Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Obama said he didn’t hear any of Wright’s anti-America sermons, “and we all gave him a pass,” Gingrich said.
Scalise has said he was unaware that a group he spoke to in Louisiana was run by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. And since then, Duke adviser Kenny Knight, who invited Scalise to speak at the event, has said Scalise actually spoke at a different group that was meeting in the same hotel and that some members of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization attended the speech on state tax reform.
Scalise condemns the hate group.
Rep. Cedric Richmond, the only black member of the Louisiana congressional delegation and the only Democrat, has defended Scalise, saying he “doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have come to Scalise’s defense as well, saying that the GOP whip should not have to resign from party leadership.
“For a 12-year-old speech to be blown up into a national story, I think, is frankly one more example of a one-sided view of reality,” Gingrich said Sunday.