Democratic Illinois Rep. Danny Davis defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as an “outstanding human being” on Monday.
Farrakhan is known for embracing radically anti-Semitic and anti-white views, as even the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center has acknowledged. Farrakhan’s history of racially extreme comments includes blaming Jews for the September 11 attacks, saying white people “deserve to die” and praising Adolf Hitler as a “very great man.”
A bombshell new photo emerged last week, showing former President Barack Obama smiling with Farrakhan at a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting in 2005. The journalist who took the photo said he suppressed its publication to protect Obama’s presidential aspirations.
Davis, who has been in Congress since 1997, defended Obama for meeting Farrakhan and was open about his own ties to the hate group leader in an interview with The Daily Caller on Monday.
“I personally know [Farrakhan], I’ve been to his home, done meetings, participated in events with him,” Davis told TheDC.
“I don’t regard Louis Farrakhan as an aberration or anything, I regard him as an outstanding human being who commands a following of individuals who are learned and articulate and he plays a big role in the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of people,” he emphasized later.
Davis told TheDC “it wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary” for him to meet with Farrakhan and said that Farrakhan isn’t considered a fringe character in his hometown of Chicago.
When asked about Farrakhan’s history of anti-Semitic comments, Davis was dismissive and said that many people in politics have a history of inflammatory comments.
Obama and Davis aren’t the only prominent Democrats with ties to Farrakhan. (RELATED: Elected Democrats Show Up On Stage At Nation Of Islam Convention)
Several current House Democrats were seen hugging Farrakhan in 2006, a year after Obama met with Farrakhan.
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, who also co-chairs the Democratic National Committee (DNC), once defended Farrakhan against charges of anti-Semitism.
During his campaign for DNC chair last year, Ellison wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post apologizing for his defense of Farrakhan. Ellison still managed to blame a “right-wing smear campaign” for questions about his ties to anti-Semitic figures. (RELATED: Top Democratic Donor Says Keith Ellison ‘Clearly An Anti-Semite’)
A spokesperson for the CBC did not return multiple requests for comment on Farrakhan.