12/31/2014 01:40 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2014

Sheila Jackson Lee: 'I'm Enormously Disappointed' In Steve Scalise

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said she's "enormously disappointed" in reports that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) spoke at a conference attended by white supremacists in 2002.

Jackson Lee criticized Scalise's ties to David Duke, a former KKK leader. Duke told The Huffington Post Scalise is "a good person," and said the two agree on many issues.

"This was not 50 years ago, it was 12 years ago, and every member knows what David Duke stands for, and any organization that was affiliated at that time with David Duke is obviously the Ku Klux Klan," Jackson Lee said during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC's "NewsNation." "And we know what the Ku Klux Klan stands for, for hate, for the killing of Jews and Catholics and African-Americans and anyone that they disagree with, even today."

"I'm enormously disappointed, and I frankly believe that it is important for further statements to come from the whip," Jackson Lee continued.

The congresswoman said Scalise could turn the scandal into action, saying it'll take "more than words" to repair his image.

"Why doesn’t he take the leadership in reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act in a bipartisan manner, or moving forward on criminal justice reform, or even working to pass immigration reform," Jackson Lee said. "I think it’s got to be more than words, it’s got to be action."

GOP leaders, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have stood by Scalise. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a statement Tuesday saying Scalise has his "full confidence as our Whip, and he will continue to do great and important work for all Americans."

Watch Jackson Lee on MSNBC above.



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