Politics

Abraham to Garrett: Don’t Single out Louisiana for Charlottesville Violence

‘David Duke does not speak for Louisiana,’ one Republican congressman tells another

Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., said that Louisiana rejected former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard David Duke in his last run for elected office. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham took “affront” to Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett bringing up Louisiana when assigning blame for the weekend’s white supremacist march that ended in violence and killed three people.

In an interview with Fox News, Garrett blamed outsiders for the demonstration and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying the march was made up of “people from Arkansas, Colorado, and Louisiana, and New York who all came to a bucolic town where Thomas Jefferson sat when he wrote the words ‘All men are created equal,’” plus “a small handful of local radical lunatics.”

Garrett has been criticized for meeting with march organizer and white supremacist Jason Kessler and posing for a photo. In his interview on Sunday, Garrett denounced Kessler and said he regretted meeting with him.

A woman was killed Saturday when a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist plowed into counter-demonstrators. And two state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed later in the day.

David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan Louisiana state legislator, was interviewed in Charlottesville on Saturday, and he tied the white supremacist march to President Donald Trump.

“We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” Duke said in an interview on Saturday. “That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we got to do.”

But Abraham said, “David Duke does not speak for Louisiana.”

He pointed to Duke's most recent run for elected office in the 2016 Louisiana Senate election that Republican Sen. John Kennedy won, in which Duke received 3 percent of the vote.

“Don't relate Louisiana to David Duke,” he said. “Louisiana soundly rejected David Duke again last fall.”

Abraham defended President Donald Trump’s reaction to the violence. Trump was criticized for the statement he made on Saturday or subsequent tweets, in which he didn’t condemn the white supremacist groups who gathered in Charlotte. 

“I think the media is trying to find ways to undermine his presidency,” Abraham said. “The president condemned all hate groups.”

Trump did give a more pointed statement on Monday, saying that president gave a more pointed statement Monday

“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said after returning to Washington from his working vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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