Steve Scalise’s controversial statement as a candidate for House Speaker
Since the surprising and historic removal of Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the US House of Representatives, some members of his party are apparently pushing for the election of Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise. Scalise reportedly once referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.”
Steve Scalise’s relationship with the former Grand Wizard of the KKK has raised concerns. Duke, 73, has a history of holding white nationalist beliefs and was even imprisoned in 2003 for mail and tax fraud.
Since being elected to Congress in 2008, Steve Scalise, 57, has risen through the ranks, first becoming the Republican House whip in 2014 and then the majority leader in 2022. Since he has allied himself with the extreme right of his party, conservative groups have accepted him as an appropriate candidate. He first denied having any interest in becoming speaker, but now several Republicans are beginning to back him.
Scalise appealed with his fellow Republicans “to keep doing this work that we were sent to do” as opposed to focus on removing the speaker before McCarthy was removed. Scalise also stated, “This isn’t the time to slow down that process.”
One of the main proponents of the motion to remove McCarthy, Florida’s Matt Gaetz, thinks Scalise would make a “phenomenal speaker.” Other potential candidates for the position have also been cited by Gaetz, including Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Jody Arrington of Texas, and Kevin Hearn of Oklahoma. But if Scalise were elected speaker, he would hold the record for being Louisiana’s most powerful congressman ever.