Lamar White Jr. has been credited as the blogger who first highlighted how House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke to a group of white nationalists in 2002.
White broke the story on his website on Sunday. Although he was initially criticized by some of Scalise’s supporters, the congressman eventually acknowledged he was at the gathering and then apologized on Tuesday afternoon.
Scalise was at the gathering addressing a the the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, led by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and Louisiana state representative.
White revealed in a new interview that he simply googled the two names after receiving a tip from a source.
“I came across this story through a connection with the candidate who ran against Scalise in 2008. They said that they had always heard these rumors about Steve Scalise going to a function associated with David Duke,” he told the Washington Post.
“I was vaguely familiar that he had talked about David Duke in the past. So I googled Steve Scalise and David Duke and within 20 seconds found the Stormfront posts.” Stormfront is a white supremacist website. A commentor noted several times that Scalise was at the event.
White also emphasized that he doesn’t view himself as a “crazy liberal,” as some have labeled him. “I like to think of myself as equal opportunity. If Scalise was a Democrat, I would have published it as well,” he said.
White added to The Huffington Post that the story is still important despite happening so long ago, because “even though it was 12 years ago, it is important because this man was 36 years old, a state representative, an elected official. He knew exactly what he was getting into.”
White, 32, is in law school. He has blogged for nearly nine years.
Scalise has received support from a number of Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner.
“More than a decade ago, Representative Scalise made an error in judgment, and he was right to acknowledge it was wrong and inappropriate. Like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I know Steve to be a man of high integrity and good character. He has my full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans,” he said in a statement.
Scalise on Monday told NOLA that he wasn’t involved with the organization, but on Tuesday acknowledged he spoke to the group while raising support for a piece of legislation, and said “It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”
On the other hand, Scalise has supported Duke in the past.
“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise in a statement to Roll Call in 1999. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”
Duke also told the Post that Scalise is a “fine family man” and that he was friendly with a member of his organization.