If ever there becomes a movie that reveals the rotten side of politics, the script has just been written. My goodness, it has all of the hot words: liberals, Muslims, bedroom beds, spouse abuse, non-transparency (or is it collusion,) kids in shock, a seated member of Congress, vulgar language, the Democratic National Committee, a woman scorned, and – best of all – an election.
You are going to love this feast. Keith Ellison, an eight-term Congressman from Minnesota, just waltzed in an overwhelming way on Tuesday to win the state’s primary in his quest to become the state’s next Attorney General. You may recall when he was first elected, he became the first Muslim to ever be seated in Congress.
Better yet, this dazzler is also the Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Party.
That is what drew the colorful Bernie Sanders to Minnesota to help him rev up the liberal voters in the state. So, trust me when I tell you the carnival bus took a violent flip on the eve of the election. The 25-year-old son of former Ellison girlfriend Karen Monahan took to the Tweeter airways last Saturday night to allege Ellison is a domestic abuser of the first order. What’s more, Austin Monahan claims he has a tape to prove it.
Austin’s account of Ellison’s abuse is pretty dramatic. He said that in the middle of last year he was using his mom’s computer when he came across a horde of emails between the two lovers. “I found over 100 text and twitter messages and a video almost two (minutes) long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my momma off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a ------- b---- and telling her to get the ---- out of his house.”
His account also includes, “There is a lot more he has done to my mom and others that (my brother and I) saw in the texts but our mom can decide if and when she wants to tell that part … now I know both Democrats and Republicans could care less when it comes to violence toward women and girls.”
Rep. Ellison immediately denied everything, but the revelation set both conservative and liberal groups ablaze this week. The girlfriend, Karen Monahan, was an activist for the Sierra Club at the time and now her cause has a growing group of organizations demanding Ellison’s head.
Quickly Karen herself jumped into the fray. Her tweet: “What my son said is true. Every statement he made is true. @keithellison, you know you did that to me. I have given you every opportunity to get help and heal. Even now u r willing to say my son is lying and have me continue to leak more text and info just so others will believe him.”
But guess who said nothing (!) for the first 72 hours – The Democratic National Committee. Ignoring hundreds of media requests, the DNC waited until Tuesday afternoon, this just before the polls closed, to issue a statement: “These allegations recently came to light, and we are viewing them. All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously.”
Luis Miranda, a former communications director for the DNC, said the statement wasn’t enough. “The party has no choice but to suspend him until they figure out what’s going on. Frankly, it would be malpractice not to,” he said, adding, “We’ve made it clear we are going to take these accusations seriously, at a minimum. We set too high a standard not to take this seriously.”
What now has Minnesota in a snare is that late in 2017, Al Franken was forced to resign from the Senate for groping a woman. At the time, Ellison was among those who called for Franken’s resignation. And not only that – Ellison issued a press release the day Franken resigned. Hold tight as you read this from Dec. 7, 2017:
"I commend the brave women who have come forward in recent weeks to share their experience of sexual harassment and assault. Their courage is immense and has sparked a long overdue national reckoning with persistent inequities and injustices in our society,” Congressman Ellison wrote.
"I am grateful for Al Franken’s progressive record of accomplishment over the years … Still, as elected officials, we must stand for safe communities and work environments for everyone. Senator Franken's decision to resign shows a strength of character that other elected officials haven’t. Al’s decision is the right one and will bring us one step closer towards a society of true justice and equality for all."
Minutes after the election became final on Tuesday, Ellison told reporters that was a crucial difference between him and Franken. “In this case, it's not true of me. It's just not true. We'll talk more about it in the coming days," he said.
Ellison has maintained his innocence since the election and said of the alleged video, “It does not exist because I have never behaved in this way."
* * *
Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District (Minneapolis), which seated Ellison as the first Muslim in Congress, chose Somali-American legislator Ilhan Omar to fill Ellison’s vacant seat Tuesday, which all but guarantees the woman who spent the first 12 years of her life in a Somali refugee camp will be elected to Congress in November.
Omar, who is a Muslim, will join Rashida Tlaib this fall as one of the two first Muslim females in Congress. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American who won a Detroit-area Democratic primary last week, is unopposed in November.