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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.”

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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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


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

Breaking Banner

GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden

Published

on

In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump

Published

on

President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.

"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."

The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

There are 51 votes to approve calling witnesses in Trump impeachment trial: PBS

Published

on

After pieces of John Bolton's manuscript leaked to the press confirming President Donald Trump's bribery of Ukraine, Republicans have turned to support the witnesses they once opposed.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) both voted against witnesses and were leaning against them until Bolton's manuscript was leaked to the press after it was turned over to the White House for approval.

PBS News Hour reporter Lisa Desjardins tweeted Monday evening that the news tipped the scales and there were officially 51 votes to approve witnesses.

https://twitter.com/LisaDNews/status/1221951089647538177

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image