Amid public pressure this week, some of the Democrats with past connections to notoriously racist and vehemently anti-Semitic Louis Farrakhan have denounced the rhetoric of the Nation of Islam leader, while others have attempted to sidestep the issue.
Connections among Democrats and leftist activists to Farrakhan have come under increased scrutiny over the last few weeks, in part prompted by a report that Women’s March Co-president Tamika Mallory attended Farrakhan's "Savior's Day" event last month, in which he spewed his usual racist and anti-Semitic vitriol, including condemning "satanic Jews" and "powerful Jews," and pronouncing that "white folks are going down."
As The Daily Wire reported, amid mounting criticism, the Women's March finally issued a tepid statement Tuesday declaring what they described as a commitment to "fighting oppression" in all forms, including "anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacy." Though the group said Farrakhan's "statements about Jewish, queer, and trans people are not aligned with the Women's March Unity Principle," they, like most of the Democratic lawmakers under fire, did not outright disavow the black nationalist leader.
On the same day, the Republican Jewish Coalition provided a list of seven Democratic members of Congress who have at some point met with or had ties to Farrakhan during their tenure and demanded their resignations: Reps. Andre Carson (D-IN), Danny Davis (D-IL), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Al Green (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Maxine Waters (D-CA).
On Thursday, Reps. Meeks and Lee tweeted statements condemning Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments, while Davis, after recently praising Farrakhan as an "outstanding human being" and saying he has no problem with how he addresses the "Jewish question," finally condemned him on Thursday in a statement to Forward. (See their responses below.)
But the other House Democrats have yet to issue even as tepid statements as their peers. Carson refused to specifically condemn Farrakhan, issuing a general denunciation of hateful speech and simply saying that he doesn't always see "eye to eye" with those with whom he meets, like Farrakhan. "Racism, homophobia, islamophobia [sic], anti-Semitism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance have no place in our civil discourse," he said Thursday, Politico reports. "As a Member of Congress, I have met with a diverse array of community leaders, including Minister Farrakhan, to discuss critical issues that are important to my constituents and all Americans. While many of these leaders have long track records of creating positive change in their communities, this does not mean that I see eye to eye with them on all beliefs or public statements."
Ellison, who has just earned "4 Pinnochios" from left-leaning Washington Post for lying about his long relationship with Farrakhan, insisted that he has already sufficiently condemned Farrakhan in the past, telling the Post, "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."
Rep. Maxine Waters, who attended a Nation of Islam convention in 2002, as well as House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who shared the stage with Farrakhan in 2011, have yet to specifically condemn Farrakhan this week. The Daily Caller reports on Clyburn's response to the call this week for a condemnation of the racist leader:
South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn attended a 2011 event with Farrakhan and shared the stage with him, even after Jewish groups voiced their opposition to Clyburn attending the event. Clyburn told the Final Call, a Nation of Islam publication, that he was “not bothered in the least bit” by criticisms of his attendance at the event.
As the assistant Democratic leader, Clyburn is the third-highest ranked Democrat in the House. He declined to condemn Farrakhan in a statement released to The Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday.
“I have fought all my life to advance the cause of social justice and equality, and I have always opposed bigotry in all its forms,” Clyburn said in the statement. His office declined repeated inquiries regarding whether the congressman is willing to condemn Farrakhan, and whether he stood by his decision in 2011 to shrug off criticisms of Farrakhan.
Below are the condemnations of Farrakhan's statements issued by Meeks, Lee, and Davis:
"Farrakhan's anti-Semitic messages are upsetting & unacceptable," tweeted Meeks. After dedicating one sentence to his disavowal, Meeks pivoted to an attack on "right-wing blogs."
Rep. Lee provided a slightly stronger statement. "I've spent my life fighting against discrimination in every form, from anyone," she wrote. "I unequivocally condemn Mr. Farrakhan's anti-Semitic and hateful comments. This vitriol has no place in our society." However, immediately after tweeting her statement, she then retweeted a post from Farrakhan-tied Ellison.
Rep. Davis, after praising the "outstanding human being" Farrakhan and defending his handling of "the Jewish question," finally condemned him to Jewish outlet Forward. "Let me be clear: I reject, condemn and oppose Minister Farrakhan’s views and remarks regarding the Jewish people and the Jewish religion," he said.