A meeting between three Democratic congressmen and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, attended by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, has come to light.
Although the 2013 dinner attended by Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Andre Carson of Indiana and Gregory Meeks of New York was covered by the Nation of Islam’s Final Call, it had not received extensive media publicity until The Wall Street Journal in February blasted the wall of media silence around it.
Ellison, in fact, had written an Op-Ed for The Washington Post in December 2016 in which he said that when it came to Farrakahn and others like him, Ellison “disavowed them long ago, condemned their views and apologized.”
At the time, Ellison was responding to critics who noted he participated in the Million Man March in 1995, which was organized by Farrakhan.
The Washington Post went to fact-check the Wall Street Journal report and plumb the depths of Ellison’s friendship with Farrakhan.
It said Ellison never claimed he was not at the dinner, but said he did not know in advance who would be attending and that he went to the dinner to press for a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff with Iran.
The Post also said that a YouTube video found by The Daily Caller shows Farrakhan with Ellison, and that the video was taken some time between 2010 and 2013.
The Post also reported that Farrakhan himself said Ellison and Carson met with him in 2016.
“Both of them, when I was in Washington, visited my suite and we sat down talking like you and I are talking,” Farrakhan said. “But evidently, the enemy has made me the litmus test for all black people who want to rise in their world.”
The Post ended up giving Ellison four Pinocchios for inaccuracy in the way Ellison relayed events.
“Ellison repeatedly has danced around the question of his association with Farrakhan, including whether they have crossed paths since he publicly cut ties with the Nation of Islam in 2006,” the Post wrote.
“He cannot claim to have ‘disavowed’ Farrakhan more than a decade ago while moving in the same circles and apparently having a friendly chat behind closed doors,” it wrote.
The Post report noted that after the Journal report emerged, Ellison said, he had “no relationship” with Farrakhan and “my political opponents keep pushing this out there in order to smear and distract from the key issues.”
The Post did not buy it.
“Ellison is trying to have it both ways, publicly distancing himself while privately doing something else,” the Post wrote.
The Post did not receive a comment issued by Ellison after the Post rendered its verdict.
“I do not have and have never had a relationship with Mr. Farrakhan, but I have been in the same room as him. About a decade ago, he and I had a brief, chance encounter in Washington, D.C. In 2013, I attended a meeting in New York City with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and nearly 50 others where I advocated for the release of an American political prisoner. I didn’t know Mr. Farrakhan would be there and did not speak to him at the event. Contrary to recent reports, I have not been in any meeting with him since then, and he and I have no communication of any kind,” Ellison said.
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