Tag Archives: David Duke

Trump now challenges the speaker of the House


House Speaker Paul Ryan today laid out an interesting challenge to the Republican Party’s leading presidential candidate.

He said Donald J. Trump needs to condemn the politics and policies of the Ku Klux Klan, which Trump has failed to do with anything resembling clarity. The Republican Party, said the GOP speaker, does not stand for bigotry, hatred and racism.

Trump’s response?

He said he doesn’t know the speaker but expects to get along with him once the two men get acquainted. If they don’t, said Trump, then Ryan could have some trouble.


Let’s hold on.

As MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell noted this evening, the speaker of the House of Representatives has far more power than the president of the United States. Thus, the GOP frontrunner needs to take care if he’s going to “threaten” the Man of the House.

Why? The House generates all tax legislation. Plus, as O’Donnell noted, speakers of the House have the ability to make life quite uncomfortable for presidents. Think of what the House did to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal; think also of what the House did to President Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Nixon nearly got impeached; Clinton actually was impeached.

Donald Trump needs to learn to make nice. Then again, if he had any understanding of how government actually works, he would know better than to threaten the man who runs one half of a co-equal branch of government.



Here’s a little info about David Duke, Mr. Trump


David Duke once was a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

You’ve heard of the KKK, right? They hate African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, non-Christians. They have burned crosses. They have killed people.

It’s an organization from which one cannot ever really escape, unless one does something demonstrable: such as disavow their previous association with the group; condemn its actions categorically.

David Duke — one-time Louisiana state legislator and gubernatorial candidate — hasn’t done that.

Duke, though, has endorsed Donald J. Trump’s platform on which he is standing as he runs for the Republican presidential nomination. He hasn’t endorsed Trump, per se. He just likes the things Trump is saying on the stump.

I’ll take a leap here to presume he means primarily the things Trump says about building a wall across our southern border and banning all Muslims from entering this country.

Trump, though, hasn’t distanced himself from the former grand wizard — Or is it grand dragon? I can’t keep those titles straight.

Instead, Trump says he doesn’t know anything about Duke.

Doesn’t know anything? Holy cow, man! He’s been in all the papers. Here’s how the New York Times reported it: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with CNN. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

Trump needs to get out more, maybe.

The NYT went on: “I think he deserves a close look by those who believe the era of political correctness needs to come to an end,” Mr. Duke said, calling for a leader who would secure the border and dismantle the “Jewish controlled” financial industry.

As the conservative radio talk-show host Mark Levin said in a tweet: “Is it really that hard to disavow” a known Klansman?

One more item from the Times: “I don’t know David Duke,” (Trump) said. “I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.”

Well, I’ve never met David Duke, either. Nor have millions of other Americans who detest the organization with which he is most closely associated.


David Duke endorses Trump


Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke has declared his support for Donald Trump.

I should just let that statement stand on its own.

But I cannot.

This’ll be brief.

Duke’s past is as reprehensible as it gets. He’s now thrown in with Trump, the current Republican Party presidential front runner.

“So although we can’t trust him to do what he says, the other Republican candidates won’t even say what he says. So he’s certainly the best of the lot. And he’s certainly somebody that we should get behind in terms, you know, raising the image of this thing.”

I’m not for a nanosecond going to suggest that Trump share’s Duke’s KKK dogma. I am going to suggest that Duke — no matter what he says about himself or the organization to which he belonged — cannot shed his past.

Duke’s obituary is going to include a KKK reference. And we all know about the murder, misery and mayhem that it has committed against other Americans.

There. Now I’m done.


This wasn’t a parody

The Onion takes great pleasure in offering parodies of news events.

The link attached here talks about a black man who supports flying the Confederate flag — and who has just tripled his media appearance rates to tell  his story.


It’s a hilarious send-up of a current news story.

However, it brings to mind a woman I met many years ago while covering a governor’s race in Louisiana. If only she had been pulling my leg at the time. She wasn’t.

The year was 1991. I was working in Beaumont, in the southeastern corner of Texas, about 25 miles from the Louisiana border. The Beaumont Enterprise was covering “regional news” back then, and still sold newspapers all the way to Lake Charles, La. I thought I could get an interesting commentary out of the governor’s race in the state next door, so I ventured across the Sabine River and went to Vinton, La., where voters were casting ballots.

The two candidates were the Democrat, former Gov. Edwin Edwards and the Republican, David Duke — yes, that David Duke, the Ku Klux Klansman.

I went to a polling place and talked to voters walking away. I approached a middle-aged African-American woman and asked her about the race — expecting fully to get the kind of response I’d heard from other African-Americans about a contest between a colorful former governor and the intensely controversial opponent, Duke.

What I got damn near bowled me over.

The woman said she voted for Duke!

The KKK stuff didn’t bother her, she said. His white supremacist views weren’t the deal-breaker, she explained.

Why did you vote for him? I asked. It was his stand on welfare, she said.

I truly thought she was kidding. I pressed her some more about her political leanings and she insisted that she was sincere. David Duke was her man because he wanted to get people off welfare, that she was tired of paying for other people’s food and housing. If they really wanted to work, she said, they could find a job.

Wow! Who knew?

Looking back on 24 years on that amazing encounter, I can read The Onion parody and wonder: Is it really a joke?

Hmmm. Yeah. It is.


Scalise needed to be in Selma

If there was one member of the congressional leadership team who needed to be in Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, it was Louisiana U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise.

He should have been there. He should have sought to make amends for a significant error in judgment some years ago, before he became a Republican member of the House of Representatives.


Scalise had the bad taste in 2006, prior to his election to Congress, to accept a speaking engagement before a group founded by noted Ku Klux Klan grand lizard David Duke.

Scalise, who’s now the House majority whip, has since expressed regret over attending the Duke-sponsored event.

Where was he the day of the Selma commemoration? He was in Sea Island, Ga., attending an American Enterprise Institute conference, along with some other key conservative thinkers and politicians.

One of them attending the AEI event was House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who also took time to attend the rally on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

McCarthy was one of a handful of key Republican politicians to attend the Selma event; another key Republican in Selma was the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, who was there with his wife, Laura.

Scalise, who still has some damage to repair from the fallout from his David Duke speech all those years ago, missed a chance to demonstrate that he really doesn’t subscribe to the views held by the KKK.


Speaker gets past this rocky road

House Speaker John Boehner has had more fun than what he experienced the past couple of weeks.

It’s been like, well, herding cats. His Republican caucus all but went into apoplexy over a plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security. The TEA party wing of the caucus remained dead set against it. Other Republicans joined with Democrats to fund DHS until September.

Without the money, DHS would have had to shut down; 30,000 federal employees would have been furloughed.

Crisis is averted. For now.


The speaker’s difficulty with his the TEA party cabal is far from over. I’ll just suggest that his fear will be that they’ll be so angry with him they might try to launch an intraparty insurrection to get Boehner removed from his post.

Who would get the gavel? Louie Gohmert, the East Texas chucklehead? Would it be Steve Scalise, the majority whip from Louisiana who once spoke to a David Duke-sponsored outfit?

My hunch is that Boehner will survive any possible rebellion.

But the vote to fund DHS now allows the House of Representatives to get on with more serious matters. Lawmakers ought to focus on things such as, oh, a budget, infrastructure legislation, some national security issues. You know, the stuff to which they all signed on to do on behalf of all Americans.

I’m glad the deal was struck. Boehner actually worked with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the despised former speaker. That, by itself, might be cause for the TEA party wing of the GOP to break out the pitchforks and torches.

Isn’t governing fun, Mr. Speaker?

David Duke's name is pure poison

Steve Scalise must not have gotten out much before he was elected to Congress in 2008.

There can be no explanation for his not understanding that any organization associated with someone named David Duke would be pure poison, toxic and a group to avoid at all costs.

He didn’t hear the news about Duke, apparently. He must not have known that Duke is a (former) Ku Klux Klansman, a hater of blacks and Jews and someone whose ideas about anything under the sun are anathema to the principles of inclusion.


Scalese spoke to a EURO Organization ostensibly about taxes when he served in the Louisiana state legislature in 2002. He now says he “regrets” speaking to the group. He says is now that the country has learned of the House majority whip’s speaking to the group.

Did he disavow the white supremacist group’s world view the moment he learned of David Duke’s association with it? Gosh, I haven’t heard that he has done that. Has anyone else heard such a thing?

Scalise is now in damage-control mode, trying to fend off the critics who condemn his speech.

The single question I have is this: Did he know that David Duke was the group’s founder when he agreed to speak to its membership?


Racial issue gets in GOP's way once more

That darn issue of race relations has just bitten the Republican congressional leadership right in the backside.

Don’t you just hate it when that happens?


GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002. The group was founded by a fellow Louisianan, one-time Ku Klux Klan grand dragon/wizard/potentate/medicine man David Duke.

Scalise says now he “regrets” his “error in judgment.” He condemns the views of “groups like that.”

Hey, it was a dozen years ago. No harm done now, right? He spoke six years before entering Congress.

Should he quit his leadership post? Should the congressman quit his House seat? I’m not going there until we know more about what he said and the nature of the invitation.

It does kind of remind me of what happened when former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., had the poor judgment to say something kind about the late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign. That was when ol’ Strom broke away from the Democratic Party — of which he was a member back then — to run for the White House as a Dixiecrat. He was a segregationist back then — and proud of it, too! He just didn’t like mixing with black people — even though, as we would learn later, he mixed it big time with an African-American woman, with whom he produced a daughter.

Lott said this about Strom: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Oh, brother. That got Lott into some serious trouble. Lott stepped down as majority leader.

Two questions: Did the invitation to Scalise come from a group — the EURO Conference — identified easily as a white supremacist organization? And did he know of Klansman David Duke’s association with it?

The deal-breaker well might be the Duke involvement. Let’s come clean, shall we?



This story went untold: Edwin Edwards's loss

While most of the U.S. political press was fixated on the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana, another contest ended and virtually no one cared about its conclusion.

Except me.

The Sixth Congressional District race featured a contest between Republican Garret Graves and Democrat Edwin Edwards. Yes, that Edwin Edwards. The former governor and former prison inmate.

He once was the state’s governor and served also in Congress, representing the state’s Seventh District. Edwards also was, shall we say, one of the more colorful politicians ever to serve Louisiana, a state known for colorful pols. Huey Long might have written the book on political flamboyance, but ol’ Cajun Edwin wrote a chapter, maybe two, in that book.

Edwards wasn’t your run-of-the-mill character. He was proud of the trouble he kept finding. Edwards once said (reportedly) that the only way he’d ever lose an election was to be caught frolicking with a “dead girl or a live boy.” (Maybe it was the other way around, but you get the idea.) Another quote attributed to Edwards is that Louisianans “don’t expect their politicians to be crooked, they demand it of them.”

I had the pleasure of watching his 1991 campaign for Louisiana governor against Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, who was the Republican nominee that year. I attended a couple of political events in southwestern Louisiana back when I was working for the Beaumont Enterprise. Edwards crushed Duke that year in a landslide.

Seven years later, he was indicted and then convicted of several counts of racketeering, mail fraud, extortion and money laundering. He spent two years in a federal lockup in Fort Worth. Yeah, he’s a prince of a guy.

Well, he wanted back into public life. He’s 80-plus years old now, a bit past his prime, no doubt.

I was pulling for him to score an upset. If nothing else, the House of Representatives could use a little proverbial color in its ranks. Edwards would have provided it — and then some.



Edwin Edwards making a comeback?

Awesome news is trickling out way over yonder in Louisiana.

It’s that former Gov. Edwin Edwards is thinking of making a political comeback. The formerly disgraced Democratic governor, who’s now 86 years of age, might run for a congressional seat that will be vacated when the incumbent runs this year against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.


The incumbent is a Republican, Bill Cassidy. He’ll run against Landrieu, meaning that his seat automatically becomes vacant, as he can’t run for two offices at the same time.

Edwards would create quite a stir were he to win the House seat. He has been convicted of money laundering and racketeering. Edwards has led quite a flamboyant life for as long as anyone can remember.

I had the pleasure of covering a bit of one of Edwards’s re-election campaigns while I was working in Beaumont, just about 25 miles from the Louisiana border. His GOP foe in 1991 was none other than Klansman David Duke. I’d say “former” except that Duke kept talking like an active KKK member as he campaigned around the state. Edwards won easily — thank goodness.

He’s a character of the first order.

I’ve been fond of repeating a quote that’s been attributed to Edwards. I cannot vouch for its accuracy but if he didn’t actually say it, he should have.

It’s that Louisianans don’t “expect their politicians to be corrupt. They demand it of them.”

Were he to win — and given Congress’s abysmal approval rating among Americans, it seems ol’ Cajun Edwin will fit right in.