Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) who is running to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Ellison about his past support for the anti-Semitic leader of the Nationa of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.
According to CNN:
“Minister Farrakhan is a role model for black youth,” wrote Ellison in an Insight News op-ed in 1995. “He is not an anti-Semite.”
“I think that it is bad reporting,” Ellison told Scarborough.
Scarborough had to press Ellison if he thought Farrakhan was an anti-Semite.
“Sure, but what does he have to do with anything going on in this race or this country at this time?” Ellison asked.
Scarborough pressed Ellison on if he thought Farrakhan was still a role model for black youth.
Ellison dodged the question calling Scarborough’s question part of a 21-year-old smear campaign.
“This is about distracting and taking people away from the issues that really are at hand in this case. I think it serves somebody’s political purpose to push this stuff,” he said.
NBC’s Willie Geist asked Ellison if he disavowed his past comments. Ellison said he disavowed his past comments in 2006 “and before” that.
“That’s the ridiculous thing about this, that we keep on having to answer this kind of stuff,” Ellison said.
Perhaps problematic for Ellison is his multiple ties to defending anti-Semites or anti-Semitic comments. He has been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood as recently as 2008, and in 2007, Ellison compared 9/11 attacks to the Reichstag Fire.
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