Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

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

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.