Quantcast
Connect with us

Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s faulty human shield against accusations of racism

Published

on

Ben Carson is back in the news — after another long absence — because Donald Trump has once again been accused of racism.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

ADVERTISEMENT

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the only African-American member of the president’s Cabinet, and is often trotted out to clean up after Trump makes a mess too obviously problematic for the media to ignore. While Trump has tried to spin his recent racist attacks on four progressive freshman congresswomen as a strategic maneuver meant to manipulate Democratic infighting to his advantage, Carson’s re-emergence from his stupor should be a clear indication that the president’s team recognizes the damage that can be caused by his unforced errors.

“I have an advantage of knowing the president very well, and he’s not a racist and his comments are not racist,” Carson said in a Fox News interview. The night before, Trump became the first U.S. president officially condemned in the Congressional Record in more than 100 years when all House Democrats (along with four Republicans and one independent) voted to approve a resolution denouncing what Speaker Nancy Pelosi called “the president’s racist tweets.”

For days, beginning with a series of tweets on Sunday, the president has targeted Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, suggesting the four outspoken progressives “go back” to where they came from. All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens, like every other member of Congress. They are also women of color. Even on Fox News, Carson struggled to explain how Trump’s comments cannot be considered racist.

“The president suggested that they could go back to their countries,” host Sandra Smith pressed Carson, noting that Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were all born in the U.S. “What did the president mean? Because he’s not taking back anything he said.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s the thing: If Joe Biden told Ben Carson to “go back to where he came from,” there is little doubt that Trump and the GOP would howl about racism.

Carson, who once said a Muslim shouldn’t be elected U.S. president, pointed to Trump’s record on black and Latino unemployment and his efforts to “elevate those who are vulnerable” to deflect from the president’s divisive rhetoric. “I think you can see what the president means by looking at his accomplishment. Look at his policies, you know, under this president you see the rising tide lifting all boats,” said Carson. “You see low unemployment, you know, record low for blacks, Hispanics, you know, for all the demographics, for our nation.”

Carson failed to mention that the black homeownership rate has dropped to the lowest level on record in the first quarter of 2019. According to census data, black homeownership in the U.S. has fallen by 8.6 percentage points since its peak in 2004. Carson also did not mention that black workers have seen the smallest wage gains of any demographic group under Trump. And while Carson was eager to note that Black unemployment last year fell to the lowest level on record, he did not say that rate has only by 1 percent since Barack Obama’s last year in the White House.

ADVERTISEMENT

When asked about the black homeownership problem during an appearance on Fox Business on Wednesday, Carson said: “You are not doing anybody a favor if you put them in a house that they can’t afford.”

Carson’s defense of Trump’s racism is built on a particular brand of “identity politics” often employed by the Republican Party. In Trump’s mind, one person speaks for all people of color and thus absolves him from accusations of racism. That was the logic behind Lynne Patton, a black aide to Carson, appearing silently with Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), while Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified before Congress about the president’s history of racism. It is a pattern that reeks of paternalism.

Emboldened by a party-line vote that made it abundantly clear that congressional Republicans are unwilling to rebuke Trump, no matter how egregious his racism, the president tripled down on his attacks on Wednesday night. At a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump’s fans began chanting “Send her back!” — an apparent reference to Omar. He also trotted out his other favorite African-American supporters, the low-rent comedy duo Diamond and Silk, to defend his racism.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Trump’s human shields will never be enough.

A new poll released on Wednesday found that 65% of Americans — including a plurality of Republicans — agree that telling a person of color to “go back” to where they came from is racist, while 68% of those who had heard about Trump’s tweets found them offensive. Ben Carson’s fumbling excuses are not enough to turn back that tide.

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

George Conway fears Trump is ‘psychologically decompensating before our very eyes’

Published

on

President Donald Trump spent Friday morning melting down on Twitter as he watches bad economic news pour in, and conservative attorney George Conway worries he's suffering a mental breakdown.

Economists have been sounding alarms about a possible recession ahead of the 2020 election, and Trump has been alternately insisting things are fine while also trying to lay blame for a downturn at the feet of his political enemies.

Trump snapped at his own Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who has resisted pressure by the president to lower interest rates, and attacked Chinese leader Xi Jinping over a new round of tariffs in an escalating trade war.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Fox’s Chris Wallace stunned as ‘flailing’ Trump tries to order around US companies while the stock market plunges

Published

on

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace seemed stunned by a series of angry tweets from Donald Trump on Friday morning, first attacking Fed Chair Jerome Powell for not lowering interest rates than exploding at China over a new round of tariffs.

Speaking with host Sandra Smith, Wallace sat and listened as she read off the president's Twitter complaints about economic events beyond his control, including one telling U.S. companies to take their manufacturing business elsewhere.

"We are just all learning of this at the same time, but the best I can tell, the American president can’t order U.S. companies how they’re going to do their sales and where they’re going to have their supply chains," Wallace lectured. "We have a free-market capitalist system."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘Alarming gibberish’: Trump mocked for raging impotently against Fed chair and China

Published

on

President Donald Trump attacked his own Federal Reserve chairman as an "enemy" of the United States amid his escalating trade war with China -- and other social media users were flabbergasted.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell refused to budge on interest rates, despite heavy pressure by the president in the face of a looming recession, and China retaliated against the tariffs Trump imposed with a new round of their own.

Trump lashed out at Powell, whose name he misspelled, and compared him unfavorably to Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image