[UPDATE: This story has been changed to reflect that U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise confirmed to the Washington Post in a Dec. 29 story his attendance at the conference. A link to that story is provided at the end of this piece.]
According to recently uncovered posts on Stormfront, the Internet’s oldest and most notorious white nationalist and neo-Nazi forum, the U.S. House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), was an honored guest and speaker at an international conference of white supremacist leaders.
His district may have ignored it at the time, but the American public can’t.
Twelve years ago last May, the spacious but plainly appointed conference rooms of the Landmark Best Western Hotel in Metairie, La., a 16-story, drably-colored octagon-shaped tower that juts into an empty skyline and hugs Interstate 10 so tightly that it serves, in a way, as a type of gateway monument into the city of New Orleans, were filled with dozens of people from all over the country. They had each spent between $35 and $45 for the opportunity to participate in a two-day conference on “civil rights.” Many of them had likely decided to also take advantage of the Best Western’s generous $89 a night block rate. Even though the President of the sponsoring organization was a Louisiana native, he wasn’t attending the conference in Metairie; instead, he was hosting an identical event in Europe, which, through the magic of technology, would be simulcast on the projectors rolled out and draped from the ceilings of the Best Western conference rooms.
It was an ambitious undertaking for the fledgling organization, a truly international conference. The organization was named, innocuously enough, EURO, an acronym for European-American Unity and Rights Organization, and its leader was a man named David Duke. Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, former Louisiana state representative, and former Republican candidate for Louisiana governor, was attempting to rebrand his movement into something more palatable and less incendiary, and the ambiguous-sounding EURO seemed to do the trick.
But make no mistake: EURO was and still is a recognized hate group. It espouses and promotes racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic propaganda and considers the “white race” to be genetically, culturally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually superior to all others. In 2007, Ian Mosley, a writer for EURO, in an article on its now-defunct website titled “Germans Still Remember Their Historical Greatness,” wrote (bold mine):
The beautiful Germany of the 1930s with blonde children happily running through every village has been replaced with a multi-racial cesspool. Out of work Africans can be seen shuffling along the same streets, which used to be clean and safe in the days of the National Socialists. One day, people in Germany will grow tired of the politically correct police state that is destroying their lives. They will recover their national pride and start speaking the truth about their past regardless of what the militant lesbians or thought police tell them. Once that happens, Germany may finally be a great nation again — free of foreign control.
Mosley believed that Adolph Hitler had created a “workman’s paradise” in the 1930s.
Although David Duke wasn’t able to attend the conference in Metairie in person, EURO’s national director, a man named Vincent Breeding, served as his surrogate. Indeed, promotion materials for the event tout Breeding as a key participant:
Vincent Breeding, also known as “Vince Edwards,” also known as Bruce Alan Breeding, is a notorious racial provocateur and hate monger who got his start working with the National Alliance, a hate group that is believed to have inspired Timothy McVeigh, the mastermind of the Oklahoma City bombing. Afterward, he began working for David Duke, administering Duke’s defamatory website MartinLutherKing.org and then, later, for EURO.
On the weekend of May 17th-18th, 2002, Steve Scalise was a 36-year-old Louisiana state representative. Six years later, he’d become a United States Congressman. Six years after that, after only three terms, Steve Scalise would become the House Majority Whip, arguably the third most powerful and influential member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
But on that weekend in May, Scalise was reportedly armed with a microphone at the Landmark Best Western in Metairie and talking about tax policy to an international convention ... of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. According to a commenter who used the name “Alsace Hebert,” Steve Scalise was a highlight of the convention. Quoting:
EURO’s recent national convention held in the greater New Orleans area was a convergence of ideas represented by Americans from diverse geographical regions like California, Texas, New Jersey and the Carolina’s. This indicates that concerns held are pervasive in every sovereign state and Republic alike, within an increasingly diminishing view of where America stands on individual liberty for whites.
In addition to plans to implement tactical strategies that were discussed, the meeting was productive locally as State Representative, Steve Scalise, discussed ways to oversee gross mismanagement of tax revenue or “slush funds” that have little or no accountability.
Representative Scalise brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent give-away to a selective group based on race.
Mr. Hebert was so impressed by Rep. Scalise’s apparent characterization of the Housing and Urban Development Fund as nothing more than a scam designed to give-away public monies to “a selective group based on race,” that, two years later, with David Duke behind bars, Hebert took to the pages of Stormfront to float another candidate’s name for Congress. Quoting (bold mine):
It was just announced that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson will enter the race in the 1st Congressional District. Those that attended the EURO conference in New Orleans will recall that Scalise was a speaker, offering his support for issues that are of concern to us.
I suppose if Duke does not make the election for whatever reason, this gentleman would be a good alternative.
Remember, we are referring to an international conference of a white nationalist, white supremacist, anti-semitic, and neo-Nazi hate group led by the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. For what, exactly, did Steve Scalise offer his support? What “issues that are of concern to us?”
Most importantly, assuming Hebert’s posts are accurate, why was Scalise even there in the first place? He can’t pretend like he was confused and just stumbled into the wrong conference due to a scheduling error or a drug-induced hallucination, and he can’t feign ignorance about the organization; their acronym may have been vague, but their agenda was crystal clear. Unless Steve Scalise is totally incompetent, he knew exactly where he was headed when he parked his car in the lot in front of the Landmark Best Western.
And from the sound of it, Scalise accomplished what he came there to do: He convinced some vehement white racists and neo-Nazi bigots to vote for him.
Read the Washington Post's story here.