Rep. Carson defends controversial tea party slam
August 31st, 2011
08:54 PM ET
10 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, 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. Karen

    Carson is a hater who incites violence. We should all boycott his congressional district. He is an extremist and has done nothing to help his people become better, but held them down beholden to the government. Let the people break away from this hater, and become members of a civil society.

    August 31, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Karen

    He is using vitriolic rhetoric that is dangerous. He is pathetic.

    August 31, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  3. Dee

    He is absolutely right, I know some people personally here in Texas who are Tea Party supporters, and I know for a fact they are racists and homophobics. Truth hurts!!

    August 31, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. just me

    Their actions when they are in office are worse than what he calls them. They are the American Taliban.

    August 31, 2011 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. LIB

    Well spoken!!

    August 31, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. CNelson

    Carson, Waters, and their ilk are race-baiters, pure and simple. They use the race card to deal with any serious political opposition and to insulate the liberal welfare society agenda from criticism. It is a disgusting and cowardly substitute for meaningful debate.

    August 31, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Anya

    Rep Carson and his staff are truly racist.

    August 31, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. The Lone Okie

    He is right. They are the same party that talked about forming armed militas. Perry talks about state rights (code for slavery), he wants a small group of rich, powerful people to be able rape the citizens of their states and not answer to anyone not even the Federal government. More people need to take a stand against these loonies. Where are the "Great Men" in this country? Sign a Pledge to serve and represent all the people of the United States. Stop the baby-boomer hate and fear.

    August 31, 2011 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. CBR

    There are some folks in the TEA Party who have shown poor judgment over the last year or so. Rep Carson is giving his own reaction and he has every right to do so. There have been instances when the word "racism" has flashed because of something I saw or read on the tv, internet or other media outlets. Our perceptions are not matching reality.

    By making the many cuts in federal spending as outlined by the TEA Party and other Conservatives, the Congress will been forced to make cuts in program designed to help citizens. The idea should be to get rid of the program which do not work and are over-funded and not producing results.

    Congress could start by cutting back the health insurance for members so that their benefits would be consistent with those of the majority of Americans. They could cut their salaries and perks as well. When that is done, those in power would have the right to ask the rest of us to make similar choices.

    August 31, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. Mickey1313

    I agree with the comment. The teaparty want to bring america back to the times of the depression, where 1% controls 90% of the wealth, and the rest are fubar. Why are people so blind to see, that the de-regulation of all branchs of industry since the 1970's and 80's is distroying this nation?

    August 31, 2011 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Captain America

    I totally AGREE. Thank you for not backing down.

    August 31, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. Steve H.

    Rep Carson is the lowest, most vile life form to ever walk the halls of Congress. For him to attempt to incite a faction on completely baseless fantasy DOES indicate an abundence of inexcusable racism. His own.

    August 31, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  13. n

    Tea party are all looser. They have nothing else to do except complain but they do not give solution. All these tea party need to be kicked out of Congress

    August 31, 2011 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. Clwyd

    He could have said a lot worse about these idiots and their racist run for power! I just hope they splinter the republican party to pieces along the way. So far so good! Look at all the loony tunes they have running!

    August 31, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. Todd

    Broken man.

    August 31, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. dk

    People such as Carson are the very reason this country is in trouble. These type want to keep giving illegal aliens our HARD EARNED money that we have been forced to pay (they cut it out of check ). These people have NOT payed1 penny into Social Security but this moron Carson wants to give it away to everyone except those of us who payed into it. With carson's ideas why should a person work when they get free money to be lazy and have babies they can't support. He is an idiot.

    August 31, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This completely supports our opinion formed in Nashwville, TN, last year when we encountered the tea party elements.
    They were absolutely rascist and a disgrace the our country and the Republican Party who they have manged to take over. Abraham Lincoln ,who was the first Republican President, would be shocked. It is to our discredit as a civilized country in the 21st century that we have let these extreme rightists advance to this degree. We must hope that the American public soon realizes the peril they have been flirting with since the 2008 elections. We are being damaged internationally as well by our flirtation with the extreme right. Let's hope Obama and his administration can put them in their proper place, which is, hopefully, flushed down into the municipal waste treatment systems.

    August 31, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  18. Ted W.

    Good for you Rep. Carson!

    August 31, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. G

    "Those elements" is all they say. When you accuse anyone or group then supply evidence or shut up because you're talking loud and saying nothing.

    August 31, 2011 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  20. ObamaCares

    Speak the truth. You don't have to apologize. "Lock-n-load" and "take our country back" is full of racism. And it was the extremists who initiated it all. If the t-tarts weren't racist, then where are the Blacks, Latinos, the poor, the elderly, and the disenfranchised?

    August 31, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. bigwilliestyles

    He called it like it is; I concur. Live with it.

    August 31, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. Wulfgang

    The plain fact of the matter is this. Republicansn the Tea Party cannot accept the fact thata black man is president od the United Sttes.Ican only imagine the names he is being called behind close doors. Backs to are ilty of racism, ut when compared to whites they pail in comparison. They have stated their position from day 1. Their goal is to make sure the President only serves1 term. So it should not come as any surprise to many that no matter what he does, will never be good enough. They will not co-operate, even if it's for the good of this country. These are the same Republicans that tout themselves as religious conservatives. The conggressman from Louisiana stated best a few nightS ago. If a child was drowing and this President walked on water and saved him, Republicans and the Tea Party racist will say, look he walked on water because he couldn't swim. I hope that all union members pay atten and take heed to just what the Republicans want to do to them.

    August 31, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. Vincent J. Petrosino

    There is NOTHING Rep. Carson has said that is NOT true of the majority of the Tea Party members. It should have been said long ago and needs to continue to be said until all people of color and diversity understand what the Tea Party stands for. It stands for whites trying to stem the tide of the population shift that will have Latinos in the majority by 2030. When Tea Partiers ask for smaller government, fewer taxes, fewer job programs, when they thwart everything this President has tried to do, when they turn their backs on science, education, progress in the work place, collective bargaining, college aide to disadvantaged families, who do you think they are targeting? They are targeting every nminority family who seeks to rise to prosperity. These hypocrites are white, mostly male, mostly older than forty, mostly fundamentalists who eschew evolution, global warming and stem cell research. Forrest Bedford, John Birch, Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and Faux News hacks such as Hannity, O'Reilly, Palin, Limbaugh and the recently removed Beck have nothing on these people. If you are a person of color, if you work hard and are still at the poverty level, if you have a difference in sexual orientation and if you are an immigrant, then you must be prepared to fight like your life and those of your family depended on it. Why? Because the Tea Party is out to marginalize you, cut off any advances you try to make and withold the resources you need. In short, they want to keep you poor, ineffective, powerless and beholding to their white supremacy.

    August 31, 2011 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Daniel

    What this congressman said is the truth!!! The Tea Party really do give off that impression.

    August 31, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  25. sharky

    Mr. Carson it would behoove you to actually learn the history of the Democratic party. Slavery, secession, KKK, Dixiecrats, segregation, opposed the Civil Rights Act. Oh yes Mr. Carson, it was YOUR Democratic party that was hanging black people from trees back in the KKK lynching days. Not the Tea Party.

    August 31, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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