Steve Scalise still mending fences – By Lauren French and Anna Palmer 2/17/15 5:34 AM EST Updated 2/17/15 5:34 AM EST

The House GOP whip is meeting with black lawmakers and others who were offended by his 2002 speech to a white supremacist group.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., leaves the chamber after the House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. The Republican-controlled House voted along party lines to repeal the health care law that stands as President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, but this time the bill carried instructions for several committees to replace

Steve Scalise is on a non-apology apology tour.

Seven weeks after coming under fire for giving a 2002 speech to a group associated with white supremacists, the House’s No. 3 Republican is meeting with key members of the Congressional Black Caucus, conferring with civil rights leaders and trying to forge relationship with reporters — though it’s unclear if that will be enough to fix what could have been potentially career-ending damage.

One of the people he’s met with, CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, expressed frustration that the Louisiana Republican hasn’t committed to attending next month’s 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma, Alabama.

Scalise allies insist he is not mounting a formal mea culpa. He expressed regret after the scandal initially broke in late December, but now allies say the House majority whip is just working to build new bonds on Capitol Hill and granting meetings with those who ask.

The people he’s sat down with include black lawmakers who were deeply offended by the revelation that as a state legislator he had given the speech to a conference associated with former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. That was followed by last month’s news that in 1996 Scalise had also opposed a state legislative resolution apologizing for slavery.

Butterfield, a Democratic House member from North Carolina, said last weekthat Scalise is “going to have to determine how to repair the damage that’s been done.”

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America’s angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy – by MICHAEL KIMMEL Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 12:00 PM UTC

Up close with small-town white rage, with bitter, scary men who feel left behind by economic and cultural change

America's angriest white men: Up close with racism, rage and Southern supremacy

Who are the white supremacists? There has been no formal survey, for obvious reasons, but there are several noticeable patterns. Geographically, they come from America’s heartland—small towns, rural cities, swelling suburban sprawl outside larger Sunbelt cities. These aren’t the prosperous towns, but the single-story working-class exurbs that stretch for what feels like forever in the corridor between Long Beach and San Diego (not the San Fernando Valley), or along the southern tier of Pennsylvania, or spread all through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, across the vast high plains of eastern Washington and Oregon, through Idaho and Montana. There are plenty in the declining cities of the Rust Belt, in Dearborn and Flint, Buffalo and Milwaukee, in the bars that remain in the shadows of the hulking deserted factories that once were America’s manufacturing centers. And that doesn’t even touch the former states of the Confederacy, where flying the Confederate flag is a culturally approved symbol of “southern pride”—in the same way that wearing a swastika would be a symbol of German “heritage” (except it’s illegal in Germany to wear a swastika).

There’s a large rural component. Although “the spread of far-right groups over the last decade has not been limited to rural areas alone,” writes Osha Gray Davidson, “the social and economic unraveling of rural communities—especially in the midwest—has provided far-right groups with new audiences for their messages of hate. Some of these groups have enjoyed considerable success in their rural campaign.” For many farmers facing foreclosures, the Far Right promises to help them save their land have been appealing, offering farmers various schemes and legal maneuvers to help prevent foreclosures, blaming the farmers’ troubles on Jewish bankers and the one-world government. “As rural communities started to collapse,” Davidson writes, the Far Right “could be seen at farm auctions comforting families . . . confirming what rural people knew to be true: that their livelihoods, their families, their communities—their very lives—were falling apart.” In stark contrast to the government indifference encountered by rural Americans, a range of Far Right groups, most recently the militias, have seemingly provided support, community, and answers.

Neo-Nazis in North Dakota|A racist mob of two – The Economist Dec 21st 2013

Hardly anyone shares Craig Cobb’s dream of a white Christmas

CRAIG COBB’s plan was simple. He would quietly buy cheap land in the tiny town of Leith, North Dakota (population 19; Main Avenue, a gravel track through bare fields). Then he would invite other white supremacists to join him there. With enough like-minded citizens he would take over the town, creating an all-white enclave called “Cobbsville”. He would also rename part of his property the “Adolph [sic] Hitler Pvt. Park of Leith”.

It was not to be. Mr Cobb (pictured) was arrested on November 16th, along with Kynan Dutton, a 29-year-old supporter with a Hitler moustache, and jailed pending trial on charges of terrorising local residents. The pair were stopped while patrolling the town with shotguns, shouting obscenities. Before that, they had been painting signs on walls and flying swastika flags.

Mr Cobb’s story reflects well on the tolerant land he despises. He bought around a dozen plots of land in Leith, marking them with swastikas in trees. But his plan to build a racially pure enclave flopped, since practically no one in America supports his ideas. He only needed a handful to answer his call, but they didn’t.

As news leaked out from chat rooms, Mr Cobb became, in his own words, “one of the most famous racists in the world”. He even appeared on a popular talk show, where Trisha Goddard, a black British television personality, told him that his DNA analysis showed he was 14% sub-Saharan African. (His reaction: “Well, if I did have any nigger we don’t want any more of it.”)

The people of Leith, including its one black resident, rallied. Meetings were held, ordinances passed, a legal-defence fund set up, and the town’s website spread news about the crisis. In October Mr Cobb was removed from a council meeting for making profane and racist remarks. A local sheriff described him as “pretty drunk”.

Mr Cobb has now filed a complaint against the state’s attorney-general for making remarks intended to prevent him from practising his “religion” of “racial awareness”. He has offered to forget his complaint, and leave North Dakota, if the charges against him are dropped. This seems unlikely to happen. Mr Cobb’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for January. Until then, he will have to dream of a white Christmas behind bars.