This has been a long time coming. Today, Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler looks at Rep. Keith Ellison’s relationship with Louis Farrakhan since 2006, when he supposedly denounced him and had nothing else to do with him, and awards Ellison four Pinocchios.
To really appreciate this story you need to look back to late 2016. After the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the DNC was in shambles. For a time, it seemed Rep. Keith Ellison was set to be the party’s next DNC Chair. And then his past involvement with Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam came back to haunt him. At the time, Ellison claimed he had denounced Farrakhan and had no contact with him since 2006 when he first ran for Congress.
In December 2016, Ellison appeared on Morning Joe and claimed, “We’re talking about something that happened in 1995. This was the year that the Million Man March took off. People were attacking the march at the time. . . . Man, I’m telling you back in 2006 and before, I disavowed them. That’s the ridiculous thing about this, that we keep on having to answer this kind of stuff.” But it turns out Farrakhan wasn’t completely in Ellison’s rearview mirror. From the Post:
2010-2013: In a YouTube video uncovered by the Daily Caller, Ellison is seen chatting with a group of men that includes Farrakhan during a function at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va. The two men are not seen talking directly to each other, but they are just feet apart…
2013: Ellison attended a dinner for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sept. 23 with at least 30 other U.S. Muslim leaders, including Farrakhan…
2016: Ellison met privately with Farrakhan. Shortly after Ellison wrote his Washington Post article, Farrakhan posted an interview on his Facebook page in which he said the “deceitful” op-ed was the result of “Jewish control of politics, economics, Hollywood, music, media.” He also said that Ellison and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), the only other Muslim member of Congress, had recently met with him and had a private chat. “Both of them, when I was in Washington, visited my suite and we sat down talking like you and I are talking,” Farrakhan told his interviewer, Munir Muhammad. “But evidently, the enemy has made me the litmus test for all black people who want to rise in their world.”
Rep. Carson has since admitted to the meeting with Farrakhan. Ellison’s office promised to give the Post a statement on the meeting and then didn’t follow through. Kessler concludes:
Ellison…needs to provide a better explanation for what he was doing in Farrakhan’s hotel suite in 2016 and what they discussed. 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.
Ellison gets four Pinocchios for dishonesty. The Post also produced this helpful video showing Ellison’s denials and evidence of his more recent meetings with Farrakhan: