Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota is perfectly happy calling President Donald Trump a racist.
When it comes to exposing his racist past, however, he’s a lot less happy with being called out on it on national television.
The incident occurred as Ellison was being interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper about the Supreme Court upholding the Trump administration’s travel ban.
When Ellison, a Muslim, called the ruling “bigoted” since several of the nations on the list were Muslim-majority countries, Tapper noted that two countries on the ban weren’t Muslim-majority — North Korea and Venezuela. Ellison called North Korea a “red herring.”
“He said he wanted a complete and total shutdown of Muslim entry into the country,” Ellison said. “He didn’t get the complete and total shutdown but he got something and he’s celebrating that fact right now.”
However, Tapper noted that while Ellison was perfectly happy calling Trump a bigot, he had his own history with the racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.
“You’ve been decrying President Trump’s bigotry, obviously you used to follow somebody who continually expressed sexist, anti-LGBTQ and anti-Semitic bigotry, Louis Farrakhan. You’ve condemned Farrakhan’s bigotry, but,” Tapper began.
“I would disagree with that,” Ellison interjected. “I would disagree with that, sir, sorry.”
“What are you, what are you disagreeing with?” Tapper responded.
“That comes up in this context,” the representative continued.
“Well, you’re decrying bigotry and Louis Farrakhan is a pretty clear bigot,” Tapper responded.
“Right, and I agree that that’s true,” Ellison said, “and I think that I’ve made myself very clear, but that’s just going back to the false equivalency. Look, I don’t have any support for what the individual you just mentioned stands for, nor do I agree with Trump’s bigotry either.”
“But that, again,” he continued, “you know anytime somebody tries to say that something is unfair and bigoted if you’re gonna say well one time you sort of said something or somebody said you said something and then so nobody can complain about bigotry…”
“Oh well you were a follower of Farrakhan,” Tapper said, “you were a follower of Farrakhan, sir.”
“No I wasn’t, Jake, that’s not true,” Ellison said. Well, at least he didn’t go the Chuck D route and instruct Tapper not to tell him that he understands until he hears the man.
Ellison was involved with the Nation of Islam back in the 1990s, but disowned them during his 2006 run for Congress. “I have long since distanced myself from and rejected the Nation of Islam due to its propagation of bigoted and anti-Semitic statements and actions of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, and (Farrakhan aide) Khalid Muhammed,” Ellison said in a letter to Jewish groups at the time.
However, reports have surfaced that Ellison has had contact with the controversial Nation of Islam leader since then, including an alleged meeting in a hotel suite as recently as 2015.
During the CNN interview, however, Ellison refused to mention Farrakhan by name.
“I’m disappointed that that’s why you called me on your show today,” Ellison reprimanded Tapper.
I’m disappointed Ellison wouldn’t even name Louis Farrakhan by name, but we all have disappointments. At least Tapper wasn’t willing to let Ellison get away with his rhetoric without pointing out his bigoted past.
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