MINNEAPOLIS – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) had a meltdown on national television Tuesday when confronted about his ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Ellison appeared on CNN this week to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The interview went south when CNN anchor Jake Tapper tied Ellison’s comments about the travel ban being “bigoted” to Ellison’s own personal past with Farrakhan.
“You’ve been decrying president Trump’s bigotry. Obviously, you used to follow somebody who continually expressed sexist anti-LGBTQ and anti-semitic bigotry, Louis Farrakhan,” Tapper said during the interview.
The interview instantly turned heated, with Ellison slamming Tapper for bringing up Farrakhan “in this context.”
“I would disagree with that,” Ellison interrupted. “I’m sorry that comes up in this context.”
“Well you are decrying bigotry, Louis Farrakhan is a pretty clear bigot,” Tapper continued.
Ellison refused to address Farrakhan by name, instead claiming he does not have “any support for what the individual … stands for.”
Tapper continued to press Ellison, reminding viewers that Ellison was a follower of Farrakhan. Ellison criticized Tapper for trying to put him “on the spot” to explain his prior actions. According to Ellison, Tapper’s questions suggest a “false equivalency” between his own actions and Trump’s travel ban.
“That is not true, Jake,” Ellison shot back. “But I just want to say to you if anyone who raises concerns about bigotry then is put in a position to have to defend themselves, then we never get to talk about bigotry and I hope that’s not what your purpose is, Jake, because you’ve stood for an equal society but if you are going to try to put me on the spot and have to explain myself – I didn’t pass a Muslim ban. I didn’t – this isn’t my executive order.”
The tense exchange continued to escalate when Tapper brought up a 2016 interview in which Farrakhan claimed he had met privately with Ellison in a hotel suite in Washington D.C. in 2015. The Washington Post recently gave Ellison four Pinocchios for failing to honestly address the allegations against him. When Tapper attempted to ask Ellison about the rating, Ellison said “they were wrong” and attacked Tapper for “having this conversation.”
Watch the explosive interview below: