A Democratic lawmaker who has supported Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, spouted anti-Semitic remarks and held political fundraisers for a Hamas sympathizer says he will not attend Donald Trump’s inauguration because of the president-elect’s “division and hate.”
So said Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison on Twitter on Monday.
Ellison, who is vying for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, joined about two dozen other Democratic lawmakers who say that they will not attend Trump’s inauguration.
The politically calculated move is a response to a recent war of words between Trump and Georgia Rep. John Lewis. On Friday, Lewis, a respected civil rights activist, said in an interview that he did not believe that Trump is a “legitimate” president.
Trump responded the next day by slamming Lewis’ work in Congress.
Trump’s critics pounced on his remarks, accusing him of disrespecting a civil rights icon — and on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, no less.
But Ellison’s rationale for skipping Trump’s inauguration doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when compared to his past remarks and affiliations.
In 2009, Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Esam Omeish, a former president of the Muslim Brotherhood-connected group, Muslim American Society. Omeish was running for the Virginia assembly at the time. Ellison attended the fundraiser, which was held at Omeish’s home and attended by officials with several groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. (RELATED: Keith Ellison Headlined Fundraiser For Muslim Activist Who Called For Palestinians To Embrace ‘The Jihad Way’)
The year before that fundraiser, Omeish had been asked to resign a position on a Virginia state immigration agency after video filmed in 2000 emerged showing him calling for Palestinians to support “the jihad way” in their battle with Israel.
Omeish, who lost his political race, also endorsed the actions of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a group which was carrying out attacks against Israelis during the Second Intifada.
“We need to congratulate our brothers and sisters in Philistine [Palestine] for their bravery, for their giving up their lives for the sake of Allah and for the sake of Al-Aqsa,” Omeish said during another rally captured on video.
In 2004, Omeish praised Hamas co-founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
“Bullets and bombs are going off upon our brothers in Philistine [Palestine] and we are sitting here and saying [Arabic phrase], instead of feeling that this is our tax money and it is our dollars that killed our beloved Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,” Omeish said during a speech in Overland Park, Kan.
Ellison attended another event at Omeish’s house in 2010. There he made remarks about Jewish influence in America’s foreign policy. (RELATED: New Audio: Ellison Claimed Jews ‘Mobilized’ By Israel To ‘Do Its Bidding In America’)
“But it makes all the sense in the world when you see that that country has mobilized its Diaspora in America to do its bidding in America,” Ellison said at the event.
Ellison has a lengthy history of remarks and affiliations which undercut his new criticism of Trump. He has been heavily criticized for his past support for Farrakhan, who has made many anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks through the years.