David Duke says he is getting ready to run for Congress.
The former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and ex-candidate for Louisiana governor told The Daily Beast he is heavily leaning towards challenging Rep. Steve Scalise. Scalise is the No. 3 Republican in the House who reportedly once called himself “David Duke without the baggage” and spoke at a white nationalist group that Duke founded (two event attendees later said Scalise never attended the conference).
“I’ve very seriously set up an exploratory committee to run for the United States Congress against Steve Scalise,” Duke said. “I expect to make a decision in a few days” ahead of the July 22 ballot deadline.
Duke said the killing of five white police officers in Dallas by a black militant pushed him to the brink of running.
“I don’t take any satisfaction in the fact that I was right, but I have been right,” he said. “Unless European Americans stand up, they are going to lose everything they care about in this country.”
Duke sees 2016 as his year to win against "sellout Steve Scalise" because of new racial tensions.
“There are millions of people across the country who would like to have me in the Congress. I’d be the only person in Congress openly defending the rights and the heritage of European Americans,” he said. “We are on the offensive today. There’s no more defenses.”
Duke founded a KKK chapter in 1974, and won election to the state legislature in 1989 by campaigning on drug testing welfare recipients. After an unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 1990, Duke made the runoff for governor in 1991 against opposition from the party all the way up to President George H.W. Bush. Duke lost to Democrat, former governor, and ex-convict Edwin Edwards.
For the past 25 years, Duke has been busy as an occasional candidate and outspoken “racial realist.” In 2000, he founded the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. That’s the group, Duke claims Scalise addressed in 2002 when he was a state lawmaker. (Duke later called Scalise a “fine family man.”)
When the alleged address was revealed in 2014, Scalise feigned ignorance of the Duke group’s message.
“I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group,” he said. “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous.”
Scalise’s denouncement and his vote to ban Confederate flags in Veterans Administration cemeteries has earned him Duke’s ire.
“He crawled on his hands and his knees to the black caucus. This should not stand,” Duke said.
The Daily Beast has reached out to Scalise’s office for comment about Duke’s current political aspirations.
Should Duke make it to the House, he said one of his first goals would be to repeal the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, which liberalized immigration laws by eliminating race-based quotas.
Duke compared himself to Donald Trump, who he endorsed for president.
“I’ve said everything that Donald Trump is saying and more,” he said. “I think Trump is riding a wave of anti-establishment feeling that I’ve been nurturing for 25 years.”
On the same day that Newt Gingrich rose in Trump’s veepstakes, Duke blasted the former speaker of the House as a “total sellout cuck.” Duke was angry that Gingrich recently said white people don’t understand what it’s like for blacks who routinely face discrimination.
“I would be a better pick,” Duke said. “I had a perfect Republican voting record. If he had me as a VP he would have a life insurance policy. But again, I don’t see him doing that. That’s just a fantasy.”
Trump won’t reach out to him because the candidate fears “offending the oligarchs,” a term Duke uses for the political establishment he said is controlled by Jewish, Hispanic and African American interests.
Aware of his checkered history, Duke said he welcomed the backlash that would come if he runs.
“We have social media and the Internet today puts me at an even footing with you. The truth is going to get out one way or the other. I demand some fair treatment. The media can demonize me all they want. They can lie about me. They can say whatever they want about me. Things are changing in this country,” Duke said, his voice rising to a crescendo.
“We’re in a revolutionary spirit.”