HUD Secretary Ben Carson Defends Trump's Racist Comments

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Donald Trump’s racist remarks against the city of Baltimore, where Carson worked for years as a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University.

While visiting “Charm City,” Carson acknowledged that Baltimore had made progress in recent years, but noted “there are problems and we can’t sweep them under the rug.”

“It’s sort of like if you have a patient who has cancer. You can dress them up, and put a nice suit on them, and you can try to ignore it, but that cancer is going to have a devastating effect,” Carson said, according to CNN. “You have to be willing to address that issue if you are ever going to solve it.”

Carson’s statement comes after Trump began badgering Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) via a series of tweets on July 27. The president claimed that Cummings district, which includes parts of Baltimore, was a “very dangerous & filthy place” that was infested with rats and rodents.

Trump targeted Cummings after the representative aggressively questioned Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over the treatment of immigrants in detention facilities, saying Cummings’ “Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous.”

On July 30, Trump doubled down on his comments and claimed the people of Baltimore “are very happy that I’m bringing out the fact that it’s like living in hell.”

The HUD secretary, who is the lone African American on Trump’s cabinet, echoed some of the president’s remarks and said he faced a “dilemma” over sending children he operated on at Johns Hopkins back to East and West Baltimore “where there were rats and roaches and mice and ticks.” However, Carson, unlike Trump, did not blame Cummings for the city’s conditions.

Cummings was reportedly invited to Carson’s press conference by the secretary’s team but declined, The Atlantic reported. Cummings’ office said the invitation was last minute and the congressman could not rearrange his schedule.

Carson claimed Trump is “willing to work with” the people of Baltimore, including Cummings, to work on the city. “I would love for him to come and, first of all, just tour and have the opportunity to see things that work and things that don’t work,” he said.

He added: “I would like for the President to actually express his heart to the people the way he has expressed it to me. I think sometimes, he feels that he’s going to be treated so hostilely that he says, ‘Well maybe, I don’t even want to go there.’”

According to The Atlantic, Carson’s press conference hit a snag before it even began. Carson, his team, and a group of reporters were asked to leave a vacant lot belonging to the Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ after trespassing — Carson’s team had failed to ask permission to use the land.

“Why did someone come onto church property without permission?” church member Gregory Evans said, according to The Atlantic. “This community needs some support on all kinds of issues — on dilapidated housing and everything else. All of a sudden you’re going to show up on our property and not even ask permission to be here?”

Carson later criticized the church for making him relocate his press conference. “We just have all this animosity all the time,” he told reporters. “For instance, you guys know, you were set up on this property, and right here is this church that said: ‘Get off our property.’ You know, a church? When we’re talking about helping people. I mean, this is the level to which we have sunken as a society.”

He added that it is important to stop “this madness…. It’s us, and whether we can learn how to work together and realize that we’re not each other’s enemy and that we have a job to do here.”

“It’s nothing personal,” Evans told The Baltimore Sun. “I didn’t know it was Secretary Carson. I just know there were a bunch of people over there that were taking over our site. And we said, ‘Why are they here?’ They’ve not even asked for permission to be here.”

Evans defended the church, and said it serves the community by distributing clothes and food, providing youth programs, and offering addiction counseling. He said the same could not be said about HUD under the Trump administration.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.