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. Tom Mulroney

    He is absolutely right. Any Teabagger who says he's not is either blind, stupid or both.

    September 1, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  2. The Shunned Pundit

    It would be kind of cool if the media actually asked these Left-wing Racial Arsonists to PROVE their slanderous assertions... All they can do is call names... because they cannot defend their Economically Cancerous Socialist Agendas....

    September 1, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  3. Henry

    I completely agree with the Representative. I would go even further and accuse the entire Tea Party of either being racists or pandering to racists. If it walks like a racist, shows the placards of a racist, and speaks like a racist, it surely is a racist. And please, Tea Party racists, if you disagree with the Representative, please keep protesting and keep saying "No fair".

    September 1, 2011 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  4. Ex Liberal

    So, this guy thinks that the way to deal with and combat supposed racism and intolrant remarks is by being a bigger racist and making even more incindiary and intolerant remarks?

    Love the modern left.

    September 1, 2011 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  5. Rod C. Venger

    What could be more racist than a job fair for "african-americans" only?

    September 1, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  6. bob oh

    Gotta do in them whites before they get you. Imagine that, black nazis alive and well in America.

    September 1, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. wait for it' wait for it

    ok go...the first racist responder on this post wins Tea....and a party...

    September 1, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  8. drogo, the stallion that mounts the world almost

    Wasn't it Strom Thurmonds Dixiecrats?

    September 1, 2011 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. AC

    Some elements of the Tea Bagger society are not dealing with a full deck, they want american back, from what you idiots, you vote just like anybody else, the majority wins, you will lose again, next election, then what?

    September 1, 2011 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  10. billman

    Very clear who the racist is. How pathetic have our politicians become?

    September 1, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. allen

    You are a sick man and i`m sick of your racist comments.

    September 1, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  12. John Locke

    Amen Brother!

    September 1, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  13. chapalody

    Rep. Andre Carson, D- Indiana? Wasn't there something left out? Carson is a converted Muslim. Carson is the one who along with Nancy Pelosi who said the Tea Partiers made racial slurs when they were entering the building, but of all the recording equipment present there was no proof any racial slurs were thrown. I guess in order to go after Obama and still be loved by the blacks, Carson and Waters has to play the race card. Boring. The Tea Partiers didn't drop the ball. Want to know who dropped the ball. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the CBC and the Democrats. Not one Tea Partier has a dog whistle. Guess who does? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the CBC and the Democrats. It's not the role of the Tea Partiers to create jobs for blacks. They didn't put one black on the white Democrats plantation. Know whose responsible for that? Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the CBC. Carson thinks by redirecting rage back on the Tea Partiers is going to excuse the CBC for sitting on their butts all this time while the Democrats have done nothing to change the flight of the black people.

    September 1, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  14. Bob

    The percentage of bad apples in the "Tea Party" that are off kilter and clearly do not represent the rest of us is surely seen in the CBC. As far as congress, I must say that the vast majority no longer represent the people in spirit. Every time I hear a member of congress say "the American people deserve", "the American people want", or "the american people need", I stop and think you speak for your mother and the bone head voters that put you in office but please stop thinking for me. If I were to contact a Representative or Senator, not from my district and express my opinion about his comments or my dislike for the current state of affairs in Washington, the response would be, "Sir, you should perhaps address that issue with the Representative from your district. To Rep Carson: "Stop telling me what the members of the Congressional White Caucus think about the black man and and focus on things that do not include lining your pockets with gold. Oh, wait, we don't have a CWC do we.

    The Tea Party may be a bit much but the most drastic ideas see only moderate results in Washington. I will not knock the Tea Party any more that I would the CBC because neither is looking out for anyone other than themselves.

    September 1, 2011 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  15. MikeBell

    His rant is inexcusable.
    President Obama should have publicly taken him to task for sowing such hate through stereotyping, derisiveness, and divisiveness.
    Where is the leadership and advocacy for civility?

    September 1, 2011 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  16. Thomas O'Keefe

    And this on the eve of Rev. MLK's commemoration! What a shamefully self-serving pandering to racial fear and division. Congressmen Carson and Waters... the eyes of decent Christians are fixed upon you.

    September 1, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  17. katanggello

    Andre Carsons inciteful comment proves to be an unfortunate and irresponsible use of campaign rhetoric. These are the words of an angry and frightened man who appears to be an incapable, incompetent nincompoop. There we have a new "N" word! Wisdom would have him at least apologize if not resign. Lord have mercy!

    September 1, 2011 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  18. Canadian Jim

    Why is this news? Name me one person in America who doesn't see the racist elements in the Tea Party! In other news tonight the sun has set and is expected to rise early tomorrow morning.

    September 1, 2011 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. kat

    Always got to throw racism into the mix. Grow up ! This country is so far beyond that ! The only ones being descriminated now are the Tea Party.

    September 1, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  20. Greg

    He shouldn't have to apologize for his racist slander and ad hominem. I'm sure there are members of the Tea Party caucus that actually are racist. Just like there are racist Democrats. The difference is the Tea Part members don't make racist statements publicly, like he just did. They certainly aren't arguing any policies that are racist, unless you presuppose that only blacks or other minorities collect entitlements. From an independent perspective, all the vitriol and hate seems to be directed AT the tea party not coming from it.

    September 1, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  21. chatmandu002

    The democrats can't contain themselves. All they have to say is blame everything on the Tea Party and call every conservative a racist. The Congressional Black Caucus has lost all respectability, especially Rep Waters and Carson.

    September 1, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  22. Patrick

    This man is a racist and he should be sanctioned by Congress, if not completely removed from that body. He has absolutely no business in a "post-racial" society.

    September 1, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  23. soup101

    As a white american I actually applaud Rep Carson for saying something that a lot of people think but don't have the balls to say. If the president said it he wouldn't be re-elected.


    September 1, 2011 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  24. steve19

    For someone to make such a statement, he needs to be specific about exactly who he is talking about and where this is happening. Otherwise, what he is doing is despicable and his statements should be condemned.

    September 1, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  25. trueblueamerican

    He is absalutly right! I am white and I am disgusted in the racist bigetry and hateful behavier of the whole right wing nut party of NO! Just 1 of many examples is them signing pledge saying black babies were better off born into slavery than they are now with the 1st black president. Watch fox (unfair unbalanced)news or listen to Rush any time. Its there 24 7

    September 1, 2011 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
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