Today the View discussed the ongoing controversy over Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory’s fondness for anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan. For the most part, everyone seemed to be in agreement that Farrakhan was a genuine anti-Semite (and anti-white racist) and that people who claim to be social justice leaders probably shouldn’t be hanging out with him. There was one note of dissent, however. The guest for this segment was former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett who suggested that sometimes, as a leader, you need to meet with people who you strongly disagree with.
“Part of learning to be a leader effectively is that you have to use your voice and you have to be very clear,” Jarrett said. She continued, “Now you work with people all the time with whom you disagree. Goodness knows I met with the Koch brothers when we were working on criminal justice or Rupert Murdoch when we were working on immigration reform. But you have to, if you want to lead an inclusive movement, you have to be clear about hate. And you have to be against it every single time.”
ABC’s Paula Faris asked Jarrett for clarification, “So does that mean that you do not meet with these people?”
“No,” Jarrett replied. “As I said, if you’re trying to get things done, meeting with somebody is one thing but it’s associating yourself with hateful rhetoric is very, very different.” Jarrett went on to say that Tamika Mallory should have spoken up against Farrakhan’s hateful rhetoric earlier.
So Jarrett really does seem to be drawing a comparison here between her meeting with a couple of libertarian businessmen and Mallory’s attendance at Farrakhan’s event. Are these really the same sort of thing?
“In the nicest way possible, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch are nowhere near anyone who said ‘Hitler was a great man’ and ‘white folks are going down’ [or] ‘the Jews have been so bad at politics they lost half their population in the holocaust,'” Meghan McCain said.
“There’s a very big difference between meeting with someone who, ideologically, has a different opinion and perspective and someone who thinks that Hitler was a very great man,” McCain added.
Co-host Sunny Hostin then jumped in to back up Jarrett by reading a portion of Tamika Mallory’s statement published Wednesday saying she sometimes met with people she didn’t agree with. Hostin was suggesting that maybe Mallory didn’t want to meet with Farrakhan she felt she needed to meet with him.
As I wrote yesterday, this is a complete dodge. There is no evidence that Tamika Mallory went to the Savior’s Day event to confront Farrakhan or to even disagree with him after the fact. On the contrary, she went there as a long-time fan and someone who has previously referred to the man as the “GOAT” meaning the greatest of all time.
She didn’t go to that event because it was difficult (but necessary). As she admits, she has been attending this event her entire life. She enjoys it and finds comfort in it. That’s not the same as a confrontational meeting with police or legislators to bring about change. What change did Mallory bring to Savior’s Day?
If she had gone in as a speaker at the event and denounced anti-Semitism in Farrakhan’s presence, that might qualify as a difficult space. Also, if she’d done that, I suspect no one would be criticizing her attendance. But that’s not what she did.
Mallory attended and posted selfies from the event which made it look like she was having a great time. She got a shout-out from Farrakhan himself. She was honored by him, just as she has honored him previously.
McCain goes on to say that Farrakhan is in the same league as David Duke. She’s right about that. If the shoe were on the other foot here and some leader of a conservative group was praising Duke, Democrats would see the problem immediately. But Democrats are really struggling with being on the wrong side of the racism issue. You can see how hard it is for them to hold themselves to the same standard they hold everyone on the right to in this exchange.