The Republican Party may have been making an increased effort to appeal to minority voters by hiring black and Latino outreach specialists, but the recent choice of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson to address the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference indicates the GOP may be ducking up its attempt to rebrand itself as a new and improved party.
Robertson – whose infamous 2013 interview with GQ magazine included comments that back people were happier before the civil rights movement and gays were illogical sinners – will be speaking tonight as the weekend-long event kicks off in New Orleans, reports Salon. Other speakers tonight include RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Ron Johnson, and U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse. Those scheduled to appear later in the event include governors Rick Perry and Phil Bryant, U.S. senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and David Vitter, and Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Allen West.
Robertson has not apologized for his homophobic and racist remarks but has instead continued his antigay tirades. Most recently the reality TV star delivered a sermon at his church in West Monroe, La., on Easter Sunday in which he defended his comments, telling the congregation, “They railed against me for giving them the truth about their sins,” and once again paraphrased a Bible verse from the book of Corinthians, saying, “Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”