Rep. Carson defends controversial tea party slam
August 31st, 2011
08:54 PM ET
3 years ago

Rep. Carson defends controversial tea party slam

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - As members of the Congressional Black Caucus converged in Los Angeles for its final national job fair series, one of its ranking members responded to his own previous inflammatory comments in Miami about the tea party, comparing their movement to Jim Crow laws that segregated and marginalized African Americans in society.

A video surfaced Tuesday on TheBlaze.com, a website run by conservative host Glenn Beck, that shows Rep. Andre Carson, D- Indiana, who holds a leadership role in the CBC, at an August 22 event in Florida.

"Some of these folks in Congress would love to see us as second-class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree," Carson said, according to the audio.

On Wednesday, Carson told CNN he stood by those remarks.

“Well, I wasn't talking about the entire tea party. I think the tea party is absolutely right when they call for increased transparency in government, when they call for a cutback on excessive government spending. I am deeply concerned about some elements of the tea party who are extremist and who have reflected a mentality going back to the John Birch society, going back to George Wallace's Dixiecrats,” Carson said.

Tea party officials have previously renounced characterizations that their movement is racist. Carson said he believes the vitriolic political environment has encouraged increased attacks on minority groups.

And earlier Wednesday, Jason Tomsci, a Carson aide, said the congressman's sentiments were valid. “Members of the tea party are holding up a lot of things that the president wants to do and want to gut critical services and programs that they know are important to African Americans as well as Latinos and other minorities," Tomsci said.

"There have been elements who have expressed, that have expressed deep hostilities toward African Americans, Latinos, immigrants as well, so I am concerned about those elements that are taking us off-track as a country,” Carson said.

The Los Angeles job fair brought out an estimated crowd of 20,000 people, revealing the scope and magnitude of urban unemployment among African-Americans.

Carson said he was not regretful or in need of apologizing.

"I stand on the truth of what I spoke,” he said. “My intentions weren't to hurt anyone or any group. I wanted to speak to the issues that concern me and the philosophical issues that concern me as it relates to certain leadership within the tea party organization, not the entire tea party, but certain elements that have concerned me deeply and for quite some time that I think should really re-evaluate what it means to be an American and we shouldn't go along the path of taking America back to the ‘good old days’ because those days were not good for everyone.”

The final stop of the CBC job fair followed events in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta and Miami. The Los Angeles job fair was hosted by California Rep. Maxine Waters, and co-hosted by California Reps. Laura Richardson and Karen Bass, all Democrats.

soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. LessGov

    The CBC are predjudice in sighting all Tea Partyembers as being racist. What a bunch of racist hippcrats... Please come up with a real argument and defense ad this is just plain pathetic and ridiculous. What a bunch of hate mongers and anyone who disagree with them are racist.

    August 31, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There certainly seems to be that element in the tea partiers. There are few if any non-whites in all of the pictures. Many of the plans that these people seem to want to cut federal programs that help minorities. IF they could alter that appearance, then they might have a better opinion amongst the minority communities.

    August 31, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  3. Mr. Door

    Another black man joins Joe Biden in not knowing when to shut up.

    August 31, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  4. sonic10158

    of course he will, that's (the race card) the democrats' main weapon in their "debates" against their opposition's views.

    August 31, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  5. Ricardo Martinez

    The Tea Party is out to hurt the Country, they showed how much they hate the American People, with this Deficit Thing. They were willing to make us look like fools. I was glad to see some true Americans in the Republican Party stand up to these back wooded hillbilly fools.

    August 31, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  6. Tam

    He's right.

    August 31, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  7. jim

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi

    August 31, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  8. Minnie's Pearls

    I am as white as wonder bread and I have to say, the gentleman from Indiana is spot-on about the bigoted tea baggers.

    August 31, 2011 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  9. 1rooster

    The truth HURTS! (OWCH!!!)

    August 31, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. krehator

    The Tea Party slams everyone with crazy statements, so they don't have much room to complain.

    TP = Typical Politics

    August 31, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Why are we even talking about the 18% Tea Party? They have about as many constituents as the Green Party.

    August 31, 2011 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  12. Cliff Vegas

    Hard for the Tea Party gang to swallow, but members of their ranks are most definitely racist, classicist. After all, this is the same group that coined the word "Libtard" to denounce anybody who expresses progressive views or any opinion they happen to disagree. Among their members are people who call President Obama the "Kenyan President." They show placards at rallies have depicted President Barack Obama as a witch doctor, denounced his supposed plans for "white slavery," and likened Congress to a slave owner and the taxpayer to a "n--r." Polls conducted by University of Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality and New York Times/CBS News both show racist tenancies among stalwart Tea Party members. I also judge this to be true by my own personal experience recently at a Democratic rally in Los Angeles.

    I'm a native Californian Latino. My family has lived in the Los Angeles area since the early 1800s; my family was here before California was a state. Yet, a man and woman – emblazoned with Tea Party memorabilia told me and my brother that we need to go back to Mexico. They were supported by at least a dozen friends – all white guys – with deep hate in their eyes. Is the Tea Party racist? Heck yeah. Do we need to make their apparent racism part of the national debate on who should govern our country? Absolutely.

    August 31, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  13. Tyler Derden

    He's right. I'm a whiite Texan and I hear the garbage.

    August 31, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  14. FeralCat

    The CBC is FAR more like the KKK than they are like MLK.

    August 31, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. lawbear

    Rep Carson is absolutely correct. The "Tea Party" should drop the PR driven name and stick with their original name...Ku Klux Klan.

    August 31, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  16. Elaine

    A recent survey of Tea Party members found that the majority of the respondents held an overall negative view of minorities.I'm sure that many would argue that they aren't bigots; and point to the fact that they have minority congressmen, such as Alan West, as members.Of course, no one believes that all Tea Party members are racists; Howeverr, in 8 years of George W. Bush's disastrous presidency, with runaway deficit spending, where were they?I never saw any organized rallies, marches, and I never heard the battle cry of:"We have to take our country back!"None of that happened until Barack Obama became president; and most of the coalescing of the angry across the board on the right started the day that he became president..CNN contributor John Avlon makes some interesting observations about groups on the far right ( including the Tea Party) and far left in his book WINGNUTS( an excellent read); in which he found what appeared to be a fear by whites of losing control of their role of governance in the country,with the rise of minorities, and Barack Obama , being the first African- American president , having become the lightning rod and object of their fears and suspicion.It is an interesting , and well reasoned take.I don't know if some Tea Partiers want to lynch people of color or not; but when you think about some Tea Party OFFICIALS doing such things as: portraying the president and his parents as chimps, another one joking about killing The Obamas; and a sitting congressman using the " tar baby expression" relative to the president.; coupled with presidential candidate and Tea Party darling Michelle Bachmann's pivotal role in the Birther Movement ; it becomes very difficult to believe that there aren't real strains of racicm in this party

    August 31, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. Charlie

    Well if hanging form a tree means cutting spending then I guess he is right. Perhaps the Black Caucus shouldn't rely on the government so much and start taking care of themselves.

    August 31, 2011 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  18. oldtimer

    As a independent of either party, i would say that if a republican had stated that, the democrats would be outraged and asking for his dismissal. Why is it, that when a democrat puts his or her foot in mouth, they always excuse it. At this current time in history, all politicians are totally incompetent to represent the majority of people in this country. It seems that the only representation they do these days is for special interests, that in turn fill their pockets with gratitude.

    August 31, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Nothing new here

    What is it going to take for people to get along in this country? We are all suppose to be AMERICANS!!
    I realize there are extreme elements in both major parties ( and the Tea Party as well ). But what we need are calm, sensible people to come together to solve the problems we have in this country. Not all these extremists, and those that wish to cause further discord.

    August 31, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. danapointdaddy

    this man sounds like a bigotttt...

    August 31, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. Snooze70

    No need to apologize. He's spot on! Teabaggers are angry, stupid, ignorant people who love to wallow in their own filth. Just a bunch of jackbooted thugs.

    August 31, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Bryan

    It's refreshing to see a politician make a heart-felt, controversial statement and not backpedal two days later. I agree with his sentiments.

    August 31, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. Obama 2012

    Did those bigots apologize when they held racist signs at their rallies of President Obama? It's time for the Democrats to stand up. Enough said!

    August 31, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  24. ARMY CSM

    Good for you Rep Carson. Your observations are sound. Until the republican party renounce these card carrying hate
    mongreal they will find winning general elections much more difficult b/c of the rapid changing demographics. Indy's will not make that much of a difference. In about 20yrs I surmise, the core haters (baby boomers) will be dead or half way there and America may be able to began living up to it true creed. Just remember, they raised kids. Oh, BTW...There is no taking this country back! Back from whom, back to where??? We aren't going back, hel no, we won't go- remember that one BB? Hooah!

    August 31, 2011 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  25. A Kickin` Donkey

    I take some of the posters on this blog at their word that they don`t consider themeselves racists and yet they embrace TEA Party ideals. If you fall in that category, here`s what you need to know.

    No American, Black, White, Latino, Asian is in favor of runious taxes so a moniker of "Taxed Enough Already" is not racist. Unfortunately, your TEA group isn`t limited to that.

    Nixon proposed universal Healthcare. No "patriot" wanted their country back then. Reagan chastised party zealots against defaulting on obligations during his many debt ceiling increases. No "fiscal conservative" said a word about it. Bush "crammed" Medicare part D down your throats. Where were the cries of "socialism" then?

    What us so-called "LIBERALS" see is that only President Obama [you know the black guy] has been treated like he`s 3/5ths American and not these other President`s despite advancing facsimile positions.

    What I and others see is that less than THREE WEEKS into his term, Tea Party / GOP`ers were PLOTTING Obama`s demise. They did this without any consideration or evaluation of his POLICIES. They did it solely because they wanted him out.

    Now, I`m sorry but I don`t care how bad a President you currently claim he is, in the first 3 weeks he hadn`t done anything to justify your "Tea Party" membership other than be a Black man in the whitehouse. Extend that to the 1st 3 months or the 1st year and I can easily find virilent, hateful, backstabbing. disrespectful behavior from T- partiers well BEFORE the policies that you claim are the source of your obstructionism.

    Bottom Line: If you don`t like being sullied by the racists that are in the T-Party then OPENLY & VIGOROUSLY kick them out. [You should have made an example of the birthers among your ranks.] The rest of us are waiting. Once you do that then maybe we can talk about Taxed Enough Already but not right now.

    September 1, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
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