Women's March co-president Tamika Mallory discusses controversial relationship with Louis Farrakhan

PHOTO: Womens March co-president Tamika Mowry discusses her relationship with controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.PlayABC
WATCH Tamika Mallory and Bob Bland discuss Women's March controversy

The co-president of the upcoming Women's March defended her relationship with National of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan over his alleged anti-Semitism and other rhetoric on the "The View" Monday.

When Tamika Mallory visited the co-hosts, she explained her relationship with the controversial black leader.

“As a leader, as a black leader in a country that is still dealing with some very serious unresolved issues as it relates to the black experience in this country, I go into a lot of difficult spaces,” Mallory told “The View.” “Wherever my people are, there that’s where I must also be.”

Mallory has faced backlash for her association with Farrakhan. In March 2017, and she responded with an article saying: “I am the same person today that I was before ... which begs the question – why are my beliefs being questioned now?”

Farrakhan has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, among others, as an “extremist” “anti-Semite.”

He has made comments that have been perceived as anti-Semitic in the past, including blaming Jews for “the horror of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping,” and describing the state of Israel as “wicked.”

In October, he made headlines again in a Tweet, saying, “I'm not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.”

Mallory also discussed her choice to post a picture of herself with Farrakhan on Instagram in May 2017, calling him “the GOAT,” short for “the greatest of all time.”

The relationship sparked a fiery exchange between Mallory and the "View" co-hosts.

PHOTO: Womens March co-presidents Tamika Mowry and Bob Bland joined The View Monday to discuss allegations against the organization. (ABC)
Women's March co-presidents Tamika Mowry and Bob Bland joined "The View" Monday to discuss allegations against the organization.

"Why call him the greatest of all time?" Sunny Hostin asked.

“I didn’t call him the greatest of all time because of his rhetoric," Mallory responded. "I called him the greatest of all time because of what he’s done in black communities."

"You're talking about women, you should be talking about all women, including Jewish women and conservative women," co-host Meghan McCain said. "Do you condemn Farrakhan's remarks about Jewish people?"

"We didn't make those remarks," Mallory responded. "I don’t agree with many of Minister Farrakhan’s statements."

McCain asked, "Do you condemn them?"

"I don't agree with these statements," Mallory responded. "It’s not my language, it’s not the way that I speak, it’s not how I organize ... I should never be judged through the lens of a man."

Mallory also discussed attending Savior’s Day -- a holiday for the Nation of Islam -- and compared it to her visits to prisons, where she said also works to “build that unity, bring them to a place where we live in a more fair and equitable society.”

Mallory also said the Women’s March was comparably difficult: “I met with a lot of women who did not even understand why race was important to be a part of the conversation as it relates to women’s rights issues… just because you go into a space with someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they say.”

“That work is not easy for everyone to understand but it’s certainly work that I’m committed to," she added. "And everywhere I go is difficult."

Mallory responded to critics saying she should step down from her role as co-president of the Women’s March: “I am willing to lead until my term at Women’s March is up.”

PHOTO: Womens March co-presidents Tamika Mowry and Bob Bland discuss allegations against the organization. (ABC)
Women's March co-presidents Tamika Mowry and Bob Bland discuss allegations against the organization.

Mallory’s co-president Bob Bland responded to allegations that the organization expressed anti-Semitic beliefs behind closed doors, saying the claims “are not true. That is not how that meeting happened.”

“The people that the journalist spoke to did not tell the truth, period, full stop,” Bland said. “The Women’s March unequivocally condemns anti-Semitism, bigotry, transphobia… We condemn any statements of hate.”

“We’re committed to repairing any harm,” she added. “We welcome pro-life, we welcome conservative women to the Women’s March. The Women’s March is open for all.”