On Thursday morning, Ben Carson‘s quest for the presidency led him to an elementary school in Des Moines, Iowa. Carson’s largely kept a lid on his controversial gun statements and unfortunate Holocaust parallels lately, although his home shrine and issues with geography have kept him in the news. He still, however, could use a filter while speaking in public.
Team Carson likely hoped for a smooth ride at Isaac Newton Christian School to pave some good waves in Iowa. Tim Meinch, a Des Moines Register reporter, was on hand to tweet this photo of the assembled crowd, who all waited for the neurosurgeon to speak.
Things went well until — suddenly — disaster struck when Carson asked the students, “Who’s the dumbest kid in class?” Faster than anyone could remove their jaws from the floor, several students pointed towards one boy.
Whoops. As Meinch explained on Twitter, Carson delivered the line as a joke, but the children’s reaction happened before the “just kidding” could arrive. (Never underestimate the swiftness of kids’ honest responses.)
Carson did try to fix the situation after the fact. The young boy, a fifth grader, met the GOP candidate backstage after the gathering. Carson told the young boy to “become a neurosurgeon,” which may help erase the humiliation factor.
Still, man. Awkward.