While interviewing Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) on Wednesday morning, CNN Newsroom anchor John Berman pressed the Congressman about his past connections with the controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Meeks responded by attacking the news organization that reported Meeks attended a meeting with Farrakhan, The Daily Caller, as a "fringe, right-wing tabloid."
Our friends at The Daily Caller published an article last week highlighting seven House Democrats who have direct ties to Farrakhan, whom the site described as a "notorious anti-Semite and racist." While most of the media chose to ignore this story, CNN's Jake Tapper actually covered it and chastised the founders of the Women's March for not condemning a "rabid anti-Semite who is always misogynist and anti-LGBTQ."
For his part, Meeks alleged that he had "no clue" about Farrakhan's presence at the meeting, adding: "It was a U.N. meeting with a number of heads of states...It wasn't a meeting with Farrakhan. It was a meeting with Islamic leaders, American leaders from around the United States of America."
In addition to the seven House Democrats mentioned in the Daily Caller article, President Obama had a picture taken with Farrakhan when he and the Congressional Black Caucus met with Farrakhan. The photo, which only became public earlier this year, was taken shortly after President Obama's election to the Senate in 2005. According to the DC, the photographer decided not to release the photo because he feared it would hurt Obama's presidential aspirations.
For a party that identifies itself as the champion for the rights of women's and the LGBTQ community, their silence on condeming Farrakhan is deafening. At least the Daily Caller and a select few in the media have finally decided to put the pressure on them to condemn Farrakhan's anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and anti-women rhetoric. Along with Tapper's initial segment, Berman deserves credit for doing what many of his colleagues have refused to do.
JOHN BERMAN: Congressman, I want to give you a chance to clarify some reports that you have been connected to over the last several weeks, that in 2013, you met with the leader of the nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, here in New York City, along with the leader of Iran. Did you, in fact, attend a meeting with Farrakhan?
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN GREGORY MEEKS (N.Y.): Yeah, well let me just say again, this is The Daily Caller, another fringe, right-wing tabloid, I guess, who keeps putting this out there. Number one, it was not a meeting, he, they try to describe it as it was a private meeting with Louis Farrakhan. We had no clue. This was at a time when I was trying to decide whether or not we should go along with the, with the sanctions against Iran as well as fixing the JCPOA, the Iran Nuclear Deal. And it was a U.N. meeting with a number of heads of states. The President of Iran, Mr. Rouhani was there, along with a number of Islamic religious leaders. The conversation was about how do we stop terrorism? And I wanted to get a feel also, whether or not, so, and Farrakhan happened to be there. It wasn’t a meeting with Farrakhan. It was a meeting with Islamic leaders, American leaders from around the United States of America. That’s what the meeting was.