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Keith Ellison Defensively Denies Farrakhan Ties After Jake Tapper Confronts Him

An interview between CNN’s Jake Tapper and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban grew test after Tapper confronted the congressman over his past support for the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“You’ve been decrying President Trump’s bigotry,” Tapper began. “Obviously you used to follow somebody who continually expressed sexist, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Semitic bigotry.”

“I would disagree with that,” Ellison said. “I agree that [Farrakhan is a bigot]… I don’t have any support for what the individual you just mentioned stands for, nor do I agree with Trump’s bigotry either.”

Ellison guessed that Tapper’s accusation was from when he “sort of said something one time” that may have sounds like support for Farrakhan, to which Tapper replied, “You were a follower of Farrakhan, sir.”

Ellison reiterated that it’s not true, and Tapper pointed out that The Washington Post‘s fact-checkers gave Ellison “four Pinocchios” back in March for claiming that he had no relationship with Farrakhan.

Ellison then accused Tapper of bringing him on the show to prove a relationship to Farrakhan and assert that Ellison has “no moral standing to decry bigotry,” an accusation Tapper denied several times between defensive remarks from Ellison.

“Farrakhan said in 2016 that you met with him in his hotel suite in Washington, D.C.,” Tapper persisted.

“I have denied this because it is not true,” Ellison responded. “But here I am on your show having to talk about this when the Supreme Court just upheld what the president said was a Muslim ban from the very beginning. And so now I have to defend myself when that is not what the context of this discussion is about at all, Jake.”

Ellison wrote several articles in support of Farrakhan in the 1990s, but denounced the preacher and his group when Ellison first ran for Congress in 2006. Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is now running for Minnesota Attorney General.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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