Updated, 6:30 p.m.
An Illinois congressman confirmed in an interview Sunday that he has a relationship with the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and had “no problems” with him.
Rep. Danny Davis, a Democrat who represents Farrakhan’s home base of Chicago, told the Daily Caller that he had known Farrakhan “for years and years and years and years and years, and every once in a while some writer or somebody will I guess try to think of something to say about Farrakhan, but nah, my world is so much bigger than any of that. I don’t have time for that. I deal with it, you know, when it comes but nah, that’s not a real part of my focus.”
“That’s just one segment of what goes on in our world,” he added. “The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth. For those heavy into it, that’s their thing, but it ain’t my thing.”
Farrakhan has called Jews “the enemy of God” and said Jews were responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks and the global slave trade.
The Daily Caller published an interview with Davis last month in which he called Farrakhan an “outstanding human being.” The Anti-Defamation League said in a statement at the time that Davis had told them that he was misquoted. But Davis said in his latest interview that he didn’t know why the ADL made that statement.
“I think that was what they wanted to write,” he said. “Nah, I don’t have no problems with Farrakhan, I don’t spend a whole lot of my time dealing with those kind of things.”
An ADL spokesperson maintained that Davis had told the organization that his earlier remarks praising Farrakhan were taken out of context.
“We are deeply disappointed with Congressman Davis’ statements about Farrakhan, an avowed anti-Semite who leads a group that traffics in hate not just towards Jews but also the LGBTQ community,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the congressman apparently can’t muster up the courage to denounce Farrakhan’s blatant anti-Semitism and instead chose to praise him instead. Hate should not be difficult to denounce. Once again we’re calling on the congressman to denounce anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”
Farrakhan has emerged in the news again after it was revealed that multiple progressive leaders, including former president Barack Obama and Democratic National Committee deputy chair Rep. Keith Ellison, had attended events with him unbeknownst to the general public.
The co-president of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory was roundly criticized last week for having attended a Farrakhan rally and praising him on multiple occasions over the past few years.