Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said efforts to tie him to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan are racially-motivated smears, and downplayed his past meetings with the controversial leader by arguing that Farrakhan is "irrelevant" to American politics.
"Look, I gotta be honest with you and tell you this thing about Farrakhan being absolutely radioactive and then trying to connect anyone possible to him and then make them radioactive is – look, Farrakhan's organization is tiny," Ellison said event hosted this week by the Harvard Institute of Politics. "They don't have any influence. Nobody listens to them. They don't have any answers for anyone. Nobody's paying any attention to them. I'm telling you, they're not. I mean, give me credit for leading my life."
"Farrakhan is irrelevant to any politics. Nobody cares," said Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress.