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. KDS

    Wow, I'm no fan of the Tea Party, but just wondering if a white congressman could ever make remarks like that about the CBC and not have a ton of blacks in Congress and from outside the Beltway, like Jackson, Sharpton et al passing gas. Two sets of standards baby. Besides not everything bad that you believe is directed at you is because of your race. I can only shrug and shake my head.

    August 31, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. scedu1273

    The sooner Americans realize that the only race in America is the human race the better we will be as a nation.

    August 31, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  3. Racist Liberals

    It's racists like this guy who have made the most vile and racist remarks and they've been made towards the Tea Party, not from the Tea Party. He's also like the rest of the liberal racists who turn on their fellow African-Americans who support the Tea Party. Unfortunately, too many uneducated people will fall for these lies instead of making educated and informed decisions on their own.

    August 31, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. slong

    Careful Carson the double standard will only get you so far... even on CNN

    August 31, 2011 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Linda

    Thank your for speaking the truth and not backing down to the Tea party extremists who only care about making Obama fail – no matter what happens to this great nation. They are evil and need to be called that.

    August 31, 2011 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Robert

    What a truly un-American representative. What a simple minded child. The best he can do is make false claims? Wake up is people like him and Waters who stir the bowl of hatred. Do not buy into their trash talk. Get informed on the issues and u will find they are the problem and no one else!!!!!!

    August 31, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. John Fredericks

    I think that this gentleman has real credibility issues–if cutting welfare, a main Tea Party policy goal, reverts blacks to second class citizen status, what are you trying to say–that blacks need government support to remain on par with whites? Because I'm pretty sure I never heard any Tea Party leader say that America should bring back Jim Crow laws.

    August 31, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Ron in Asheville, NC

    There are people where I live who say they are teapartiers and who also are quite open about their racism and seemingly proud of it. I can't quote some of the language they have used in my hearing because, when I have tried, my posts get "moderated" out of existence. So–unfortunately–I can only agree with what Rep. Carson says and say I hear what he refers to and hear it with regularity.

    August 31, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  9. zip

    The congressman is absolutely correct.

    August 31, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  10. Indiana Jones

    The honorable member has opened the box of freedom, only to find the rope of Tea Party Justice. Don't touch that dial, it is 1960, and you have entered the Twilight Zone.

    August 31, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  11. Thomas Covenant

    He in a representative of an inner city. He has nothing to worry about. If Waters can get reelected, and Rangel, so can he...sadly.

    There is more tofear from people who get elected because of their color than any tea party.

    August 31, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  12. Dynan3

    Well said Congressman. This behavior needs to be called out whenever and wherever...

    August 31, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  13. blake

    Why is it that many minorities believe that it is not possible for them to be racists themselves? Mr. Carson go look in the mirror and tell us what you see. Most of us see a racist.

    August 31, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  14. cardog

    Everytime the truth is spoken about some fringe group or organization that includes verbagenabout race, out comes the "You're Playing The Race Card" crowd. The TeaParty consists of a broad span of Americans, mostly White, mostly fearranging from the poor to the middle-class. The fringe ideas they espouse are mostly out of fear. They have this desire to "Take Their Country Back"?
    Ever since the election of Barak Obama for President, the bigotry has reemerged like weeds long dormant. I would like for a Tea Party members to explain just who it is you want to take your country back from?

    August 31, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  15. R.I.P. Damon

    Nice try Congressman, but that's pretty weak. Everyone knows exactly what you were saying with that deplorable remark, and it showcases not only your desperation, but the desperation of the entire Democrat party and liberals everywhere.

    August 31, 2011 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  16. Chrisg510

    He is correct, The tea party people have always been an extreme part of America, they just changed their name from the John Birch society. BTW Google the John Birch society. See who is one of their members. Just look for the name Koch.

    August 31, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  17. wesieu

    if the tea pot pty isnt racist as a rule how come we can buy a pix of obama in white face at their gatherings? how come they sound like crackers when they talk? racist is the correct name.

    August 31, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  18. Flipper

    Yet another Democrat engaging in "civil" discourse. This guy is despicible and a disgrace. If a GOP rep. would have said something half as offensive about liberals, the Dems would have screamed bloody murder and would have demanded that the person immediately resign. The Tea Party focuses on fiscal matters and excessive government spending. The fact that SOME Dems accuse them as racist is proof positive that the Dems have lost the argument about fiscal matters....and now they are resorting to a tactic that they have used for the last 50 years. It didn't work in 2010, and it won't work now...the American people are tired of this shameful tactic.

    August 31, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  19. Name king

    Lesson the tea party popped up out of the blue when the American people decided they couldn't stand no more of bush's deregulation and tax cuts that was dragging the nation into the abyss, so they elected a black man. Come to think of it this is the same failed policies these repugs are running on to bring bobs back., any way. These tea baggers openly tries to undermined this president at every turn. This president took over an economy that was retracting at historical highs, a 800 thousand job lost a month, a stock market crash at 6000, and a financial sector in disarray. With a measly 800 billion dollars he has 20 months of private sector job growth, economic growth at 14 month straight, stock market near 1200 a 50 percent growth, a financial sector which is making more money in any time in history. Yet these lying tea baggers are going around spewing lies that we are worst off than when Obama took over. I wonder if they think people just fell from the skies and wasn't around 2 years ago to notice when you walk down town and every other businesses was closed down, people were living in abandoned buildings. Panic was every where. Unlike the gullible in America I take experience seriously and no one is going to tell me what I just experience didn't happen. Obama has us on the right track which is way better than the old bush recycled deregulation and tax cut policy that almost wiped our country off the map.

    August 31, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  20. Dave IL

    A desparate liberal whose last political weapons are slurs and name calling to try to fire up the Democrat's black voter base.

    August 31, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. alanwillingham

    Desperate measures when democrats accuse someone else of racist behavior... LOL! Democrats refused to admit Blacks are human and started a Civil War rather than give up Blacks they claimed as Property!

    After they got a half million people killed for their racist thuggery, Democrats invented the KKK to terrorize Blacks and the Republicans who freed them

    August 31, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  22. Aaron

    Carson better look out for the ire of the teabaggers since they are 2 things they really, really hate....1) being called racists and 2) black people.

    August 31, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  23. scott

    He is without shame. It's insulting to people of color to hear an elected offiicial whine about racisim when he has done nothing to advance the cause of improving the economy snd reducing the burden of debt for working balck americans.

    August 31, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    I stand with Rep. Carson. If folks can't get what "Some of them in Congress ..." means, then they are beyond help (I'm looking at you, Beck).

    August 31, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. cindy

    Continue to speak your mind Mr Carson I don't see anyone else stepping down for their comments and we know the lame "I'm sorry" from these comments mean NOTHING. If they don't say it their actions speak volumes.

    August 31, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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