Phil Robertson, one of the stars of A&E's hit show "Duck Dynasty," will be among the featured speakers at this week's Republican Leadership Conference
in New Orleans.
Robertson joins members of the GOP, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Donald Trump, Reps. Michele Bachmann and Marsha Blackburn, former Rep. Allen West, and former Sen. Rick Santorum as speakers.
Robertson has been outspoken about his conservative views, and caused a stir when he said he opposes gays and gay marriage
in a GQ magazine story last year. A&E
suspended him, but he was reinstated as a member of the cast after a firestorm of criticism. No episodes were affected by the brief suspension.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who will also speak at this week's conference, said in December he was happy Robertson was not permanently removed from "Duck Dynasty."
"I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness," Jindal said in a statement at the time. "Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, on the other hand, was not satisfied.
"Mr. Robertson's language was hurtful and painful to many people … [and] he's been unrepentant," Jackson told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV in December. "When people make mistakes, and people do make mistakes, you should be repentant and contrite and then seek forgiveness."
Members of the Robertson family endorsed Vance McAllister
last year as he ran for the House in a special election to represent Louisiana's 5th Congressional District, a race he won. Many people said the endorsement helped put McAllister into office.
In April, however, a video surfaced that showed McAllister, who is married, kissing
a female member of his staff late last year. McAllister will not seek re-election this November but "Duck Dynasty" cousin Zach Dasher
said he may do so.
The conference starts Thursday and runs through Saturday.
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