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