Ellison says Middle East in crisis needs U.S. help
September 17, 2012 — 11:10am
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told a national Meet the Press audience this weekend that yanking U.S. aid over the anti-American riots taking place in the Middle East would be a "dangerous and bad idea."
“The last thing we need is to start making quick emotionally-charged decisions," Ellison said in his first appearance in a Meet the Press roundtable. " We need consistent steady leadership like the president has shown.”
Ellison, as the first Muslim elected to Congress, has been getting more air time than usual since the fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission, reportedly sparked by an anti-Muslim video produced in the U.S.
“We need to understand that everybody’s not on the same side," said Ellison said. "You have some radicals who want to push back. Some-some loyalists from the old regime, some extremists, who want to exploit the situation, and you have people who want a Democratic society. They’re both contesting for who’s going to come out and the United States should stay on their side.”
Like other Middle East analysts, Ellison has been trying to emphasize that there's more to the region than anti-American mobs, and that the U.S. has a role to play in backing the right people.
“We have a lot of influence in terms of culture, in terms of just the way America is a democratic society. We should use that," he said.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."