"Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.) rushed to Scalise’s defense just hours after the story broke Monday.
“I don't think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body," Richmond, who is black, said in a statement to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“Steve and I have worked on issues that benefit poor people, black people, white people, Jewish people. I know his character,” Richmond added.
Danny Ford, a Louisiana lobbyist and former Executive Director for the state’s Democratic Party, said that Richmond’s comments helped to ward off Democrats looking to pile on. Ford added that he’s known both Scalise and Richmond for while, and Richmond wouldn’t have come to his colleague’s defense unless he meant it.
“That was a message of don’t be too quick to judge,” Ford said.
“It was a good signal that did help Scalise on that end with Democrats.”
Former Sen. Bennett Johnston and former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who are both Democrats, backed Scalise in statements to newspapers. Johnston told The Times-Picayune that he also didn’t know that the European-American Unity and Rights Organization was considered a hate group.
Ford said many Louisiana Democrats could also be coming to Scalise’s defense not just because of sympathy but also because of the realization that he’s a powerful voice for the state.
“For a small state such as ours, it’s crucial to have somebody in a leadership position regardless of what side of the aisle they are on,” he said.
“I don’t think anybody in the state is going to be calling for his head because they don’t want to lose that leadership position.”
'via Blog this'