In his Wall Street Journal column earlier this year, Jeryl Bier reported that Minnesota Fifth District Rep./Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman Keith Ellison and Nation of Islam Supreme Leader Louis Farrakhan had a reunion of sorts in September 2013 with a follow-up meeting in Farrakhan’s hotel room when Farrakhan visited Washington in 2015. I noted Ellison’s responses in “Ellison speaks…a little” and “Ellison speaks…a little more.”
Ellison subsequently appeared as a guest of Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Blitzer asked him about the Farrakhan meetings. Ellison avoided any explanation of what he was doing with Farrakhan. He responded in his accustomed style, turning the question into an attack on his critics. Among other things, Ellison asserted: “I have always been a fierce opponent of anti-Semitism.” This is — what’s the word? — a lie. Blitzer let him rattle on and close out the segment with a classic Ellison routine.
The routine has served him well. Farrakhan appears to have a following among a subset of the Congressional Black Caucus. Indeed, we recently learned, a smiling Barack Obama turned up at a CBC meeting with Farrakhan in 2005. The long-suppressed ocular proof was only revealed early this year.
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel talked to Ellison this week about Ellison’s sponsorship of the Democrats’ bill implementing the full socialization of health care (“the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act”). Weigel wondered if the association with Farrakhan had come up in the Democrats’ decision to let him take over the bill from John Conyers. Weigel quotes Ellison’s response: “None of my colleagues ever asked me about that, only reporters, I am telling you, no one cares. I’ve been all over Minnesota, all over Alabama, all over Missouri, all over Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and nobody ever asked me about this. People ask me about wages, about pay, about health care, about guns, about immigration. They ask me all kinds of challenging questions. But for some reason, some folks in the Fourth Estate think that this Farrakhan thing needs to be inquired about instead.” For some reason.
Weigel signs off with Ellison’s conclusion about the attitude of his Democratic colleagues toward his Farrakhan question: “I’ve said all I need to say about it.”
David Rutz focuses on Ellison’s response to Weigel in the Washington Free Beacon story “Ellison says his Democratic colleagues never ask him about his Farrakhan connection: No one cares” as does Peter Hasson in the Daily Caller story “Ellison says other Democrats don’t care about ties to anti-Semite Farrakhan.”
Perhaps some enterprising journalist will seek a comment on Ellison and Farrakhan from Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. Whatever it is, their response would be newsworthy. It would be of public interest. We all could learn something from it.