As I mentioned earlier today, Barack Obama hosted an Iftar at the White House tonight.
The guest list for the event included Diplomats from Muslim countries, Muslim leaders from around the country and Muslims from many walks of life among others. Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) was at the event but the other Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) was not present. I suggested earlier in the evening that it might have had something to do with his recent comments regarding Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. The Congressman took offense to that comment. Late tonight I received a series of messages from him via twitter. The gist of it was that he’s in California with Speaker Pelosi. The tweets read as follows:
I am with Speaker Pelosi at her Annual Issues conference.
Very irresponsible rumor. Very unbecoming of a Muslim or any person of integrity to spread such a baseless rumor. Please stop
Tell anyone who cares to know that there is no conflict with the WH and I. I am with the Speaker in Napa, CA.
The intentions of my comments earlier were obviously not to take a shot at Rep. Ellison. I’ve liked his work for the most part. I like his stance on issues. We definitely need more Muslims not only in Congress but in politics in general. That being said, his absence from the event at the White House tonight was very odd. Anyone who follows politics even remotely would connect it to his comments about Robert Gibbs. It has nothing to do with me being a good or bad Muslim. This “Issues Conference” is probably a private retreat of Democratic Congressmen but a quick Google search didn’t turn up anything linking the Congressman to California. There was no statement made by his office either. There wasn’t a Press Release, an update on his blog or a message on his twitter account. There are only 2 Muslim Congressmen, if one wasn’t making it to the Iftar you’d figure they’d mention it somewhere right? Hopefully all is fine between him and the White House (I’ll take him at his word) but his reaction tonight disappointed not only me but others I spoke to.
I should mention that Rep. Ellison has said since that he does not want Robert Gibbs dismissed.
I would have liked to see Rep. Ellison in attendance since he too has been a very vocal supporter of the Mosque in Lower Manhattan.
I mentioned to a few people earlier today that the events seemed much more low key this year (coincidence that it is an election year?). Last year we saw a video statement marking the start of Ramadan but this year the White House only released a written statement. The President did throw people like me a bone though by coming through with the strongest worded support to date of the so called “Ground Zero Mosque” by the administration. It is a shame that it was part of a Friday evening news dump.
You can watch Obama’s remarks here.
Good work from the President here. It is a balancing act that he has to follow but the remarks do still come off as genuine.
Here is the guest list for the Iftar. I asked earlier but will ask again, what do I have to do to be on the guest list next year?
As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or .
Seed on Newsvine