ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is drawing criticism for calling attention to a book that critics say condones a left-leaning group using violence in clashes with white supremacists.
Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, posted a photo on Twitter Wednesday of himself posing with the book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.” The book calls violence during counter-protests “a small though vital sliver of anti-fascist activity.”
Ellison’s post said the book should “strike fear into the heart” of President Donald Trump. The tweet, which drew more than 8,000 comments and more than 2,500 retweets, drew pushback from Republicans, who have criticized the movement’s at-times violent disruptions of speaking engagements and white supremacist rallies.
Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said Ellison’s post amounted to complicity in a movement “that continues to threaten the well-being of Republicans in Minnesota and around the country.”
Spokesman Karthik Ganapathy says Ellison has not read the book but has espoused nonviolence throughout his career.
The antifa, or anti-fascists movement, is a term to describe far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists. It drew more attention in 2017 after clashes at a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.