Ben Carson has a history of comparing things to slavery, Democratic consultant Angela Rye recalled on CNN's "AC360." Today, Carson told his staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development that slaves are "immigrants" who came here to "pursue prosperity and happiness."
"I cannot tell you how this moment struck me particularly," Rye told Republican pundit Paris Denard. "Where so many things about black history, including our last black president have been trivialized. Maybe he just had a gap in his judgment and in his memory. He's also compared Obamacare to slavery. This is an analogy that Ben Carson tosses around. He may have a severe misunderstanding of what American slavery really was, and how it impacted lives including those of us who sit here today."
Denard said that Carson should have chosen better words, but went on to misquote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who he claimed said, "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now." (The quote actually comes from A. Philip Randolph.) He was using the quote to illustrate the point that Randolph was not belittling slavery when he made the comment. Denard also claimed that too many rush to judge any Republican who tries to talk about slavery and Carson is no different.
"I think at some point we all have to be accountable for the extemporaneous words we use as well," Rye said of Carson speaking off the cuff at the speech. "Ben Carson said black people worked for less. I have breaking news: we built this joint for free. We didn't build it for less."
Cooper asked Rye if it was possible Carson was being sarcastic with his comment and Rye seemed insulted by the very concept.
"Do you think it's a good idea to be sarcastic about slavery?" she countered.
Rye noted that just days ago she found out that she descended from a woman brought to the United States from Senegal as a slave. She explained that it was a humbling moment for her and she hoped Carson would refrain from trivializing such things.
Watch the full exchange below: