Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee, sparked controversy on Wednesday by tweeting an apparent endorsement of violent left-wing group Antifa.
Ellison’s endorsement of the group, which the Department of Homeland Security says is responsible for “domestic terrorist violence,” is just the latest instance of Ellison publicly attaching himself to radical figures and ideologies.
Ellison once defended famed anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, against charges of anti-Semitism. In an op-ed for the Washington Post last year, Ellison said he should have more closely scrutinized Farrakhan, who once said Hitler was a “very great man,” but blamed a “right-wing smear campaign” for any questions raised about his ties to anti-Semitic figures.
Ellison has his own history of radical positions, including advocating for black nationalism. During college, he wrote columns arguing for the creation of a blacks-only ethnostate and called the U.S. Constitution the “best evidence of a white racist conspiracy to subjugate other peoples.” Similarly, while speaking at a protest following in 1992, Ellison declared that black people don’t live in a democracy and don’t have an “obligation” to obey government.
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