Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been known to deliver some truly outer-space moments. He once wandered away for his “luggage” during a live CNN interview. He also called Hillary Clinton a disciple of a Satan worshiper during his GOP Convention speech, and he’s rendered anchors speechless with his utterances, but no one was prepared for what Carson said today while delivering a speech to HUD staffers. In short, he referred to those who crossed the Atlantic in slave ships as “immigrants” who simply “worked even longer, even harder for less”:
“That’s what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity. There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
These words arrived at the end of some “inspirational” statements by Carson, who was praising the determination of back-in-the-day immigrants. There’s not much here to parse except to wonder what on earth Carson was thinking, and he even said this on a day when Trump dropped his new executive order that carries the same intent as his Muslim ban.
Unsurprisingly, both the NAACP and the Anne Frank Center swiftly questioned and condemned Carson’s words. The latter reminded Carson that slaves were brought here “violently, against their own will, and lived here without freedom.” Indeed, Carson’s words are simply baffling to behold.