Republicans nominate Steve Scalise for House speaker amid partisan divides | ET REALITY


The nomination of Scalise, 58, who has been the No. 2 leader in the House, was a vote of confidence for a deeply conservative Republican who once described himself, according to a local columnist, as “like David Duke without the baggage.” He represents the Louisiana congressional district that elected Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, to the state Legislature in 1989. His conservative government philosophy, the columnist wrote, was not much different from the one Duke adopted as a politician. . including oppositions to taxes and social safety net programs.

Scalise apologized in 2014 for attending a white supremacist gathering more than a decade earlier, saying he did not know the nature of the group.

On Wednesday, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-South Carolina, cited that episode as a reason not to support him and said she would support Jordan instead.

“I personally cannot, in good conscience, vote for someone who attended a white supremacist conference and compared himself to David Duke,” he told CNN.

In Congress since 2008, Scalise was diagnosed with blood cancer over the summer and is now undergoing intense treatment, which has led him to wear a mask to vote in the House and attend news conferences. And in 2017, during a practice for a congressional baseball game, an anti-Trump extremist shot and seriously wounded Scalise. He still walks with a limp.

For the past year, Scalise has been sidelined by McCarthy, who privately described him to colleagues as ineffective, uncontrolled and reluctant to take positions, and excluded him from all major decision-making. His frosty relationship made it harder for Scalise to consolidate support in the badly fractured Republican conference.

Catie Edmondson, Robert Jimison and Carl Hulse contributed with reports.

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