“I’ve always wanted to meet Farrakhan,” Hannity said early Thursday morning, after commentator Larry Elder said Farrakhan “has said positive things” about Donald Trump.
“I listened to hours and hours of his speeches. He’s mesmerizing. He’s an unbelievable orator,” Hannity continued. “What he says about individual responsibility and morality and being fathers and starting businesses is brilliant. Then he adds the racism and the anti-Semitism. If you took that away, this guy could have been such a powerful force in his life, but unfortunately his legacy is one of racism and anti-Semitism.”
During the 2008 presidential election, and for many years afterwards, Hannity pegged Farrakhan as concrete proof that Obama was anti-Semitic and racist against white people. The church Obama attended in Chicago, led by Pastor Jeremiah Wright, had given an award to Farrakhan, a leader in the Nation of Islam and author of occasionally hateful tomes.
Hannity often failed to mention Obama’s frequent denouncements of Farrakhan in favor of attempting to associate him directly with Farrakhan's message.
Ultimately, Obama denounced Farrakhan on national TV during a presidential debate hosted by Tim Russert.
“I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that I’m a good guy,” Obama joked at the debate. "I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements.”
Russert continued with his line of questioning in that debate, bringing up Farrakhan and Wright, for several minutes, despite Obama’s frequent and uniform denunciations.
Hannity continued to invoke Farrakhan for years after the 2008 election, including after the non-indictment of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, and to accuse the first elected Muslim congressperson, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), of anti-Semitism.