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. iHateStupid

    It used to be that people were super reluctant to play the "race card." Nowadays, that's the first go-to accusation folks use. Freakin' pathetic.

    September 1, 2011 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  2. charismatic

    I completely agree. There is a symbiotic balance that should be maintained between the better off wealthy and the less fortunate. Republicans/Tea party need to understand that Greed has never proven to be a viable option when its at the consumers expense who contributes to the extravagant lifestyles that most of the republican/tea party's constituents so lavishly enjoy. A balanced approach is needed. Our domestic concerns must be addressed and this won't happen when we are intervening and focused on international affairs. Divert some of those resources here and shift a higher priority to home. If America was (and notice I'm speaking in past tense) known for its innovative prowess, then why don't we focus on the ideas that some of these brilliant minds our country has to offer regarding new and longer lasting, self sustaining energy models , conserving the fossil fuels we consume. (sounds insane but Google it and remember, twenty years ago, some of the technologies we have now would be perceived as insanity). It's time for American businesses to invest in the America that provides them the means to their wealth better than any country in the world.

    September 1, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  3. DoubleStandard

    Congressional BLACK Caucus? Hmmm. I wonder what the Congressional WHITE Caucus thinks about Rep. Carson's statements. Oh, I forgot...there is no Congressional WHITE Caucus. That would be RACIST.

    September 1, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  4. Dorothy

    Uh, hes right. The Tea Party has transformed into something that's very similar to the second incarnation of the KKK. Their view on immigrants in general, education, and religion are parallel and rose during very similar economic and confusing times. The hanging from trees part is hyperbolic but what he believes about them is right on and can be said in better ways. It SHOULD be said.

    September 1, 2011 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  5. peace

    the truth hurts their is a lots of tea party that is very racist . tennesse is one of them. they are a bunch of cowards may as well put the sheet back on their ugly faces.

    September 1, 2011 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  6. Cameron

    Once again another member of the left is the only one exercising racism intolerance and hate toward any average americans that call themselves members of the tea party. The only groups that have exercised intolerance, or hate or racism, or incite violence in the streets and on the airwaves are leftist based groups. These liberals claim to look after the concerns of the minorities and needy in this country yet they are the first to throw them under the bus. Wake up America! Liberals want you to get hooked on OPM "Other peoples money" or in other words entitlements, so that you will lose all ambition to work hard to better your situation and produce and progress for yourselves. Pull your heads out and step up and be a man or woman and take responsibility for yourselves. This country is great because of all of the hard work and sacrifices of its citizens. This country was not made great because of its great entitlements and a rob peter to pay paul mentality. It is evident that the left and liberal policies are lacking all common sense and intelligence, in all yes all of their thinking and policies.

    September 1, 2011 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  7. Dee

    Of course they would back him...he talked the truth.

    The cowards are the ones that continously deny it...knowing full well some would rather tongue kiss their dog...than to shake the hand of a black man.

    September 1, 2011 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  8. Bob

    It's getting old. For over ten years now if some groups on left doesn't agree with the right they say it's because the right is stupid, racist or both. Bush was both, Cheney was both, heck, I'm supprised Rice and Powell weren't both.

    September 1, 2011 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  9. Global Economy

    Well said. Carson is on target with his remarks, and he doesn't attack anyone in making them. I don't know anything about him, but I'm going to start watching to see what else this man has to say. These are the most reasonable statements I've heard from a Republican in a long time.

    September 1, 2011 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  10. Buddy

    I am /was not any fan of the Tea Party ....... but after hearing this bigots comments ...... I am thinking it is time for people to take a stand and take the country back from this kind of racist zealot.

    September 1, 2011 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  11. Bob

    Carsen is a true racist.

    September 1, 2011 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  12. Bud Tarken

    Hell if the shoe fits then wear it. The Tea Party has a racist side to it and we all know it. Doesn't mean they are all bad folks, just like them calling all Democrats liberals. Just ain't so...welcome to the flip side of name calling and false accusations you right wing killers of the poor and under privledged.

    September 1, 2011 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  13. Ravs

    I know some tea party groupies..and to be quite honest they don't like "blacks". Its just a fact, most tea party folks would NOT like a black or any other dark skin( they don't mind Asians for some reason?)person marring into their family. They believe America is a white nation that tolerates people of different colors as long as the country is governed by white initiatives like Christianity aka "god loves whites" and "boarder control" aka "ability to search a darkie just in case" .

    September 1, 2011 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  14. MrManhattan

    Why is it so wrong to speak the truth?

    The Teabaggers say they want to "take America back" I bet they'd like to take it back as far as slavery if they thought they could get away with it !

    September 1, 2011 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  15. Rhona

    Yep. Carson nails it. There is no doubt the TP is as racist as it gets.

    September 1, 2011 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  16. Mike in SA

    Wow...racist much there Carson? Why, I know some members of the CBC who'd like to see all us Whites be rounded up and hung from a tree too.

    September 1, 2011 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  17. DaProf

    If anyone is a racist, I'd say it any of these race baiting congressional "representatives."

    Race is their filter rather than America. And as a result they are like the guy who only has one tool and it is a hammer....everything looks like a nail.

    September 1, 2011 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  18. Alex in Wisconsin

    Has anyone else noticed that when it comes to jobs, the CBC is the only group in congress doing anything to help? When's that Tea Party Caucus going to move on jobs? Before or after they vote to give themselves pay raises.

    September 1, 2011 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  19. Kevin

    This man is correct, about time someone told the truth about the tea party. Where were they when bush was doing all this spending for unjust wars and what about those unpaid for tax cuts that hasn't produced a single job. The bottom line is the tea party AKA the new Klan doesn't want to owe the country's success to the leadership of a Blackman.

    September 1, 2011 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  20. Vence

    Is not 100% of tea party is just about 90% of racists!

    September 1, 2011 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  21. Greg

    In before 'lulz all Tea Baggers are racists"

    September 1, 2011 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  22. PittUSMC

    You, Mr. Carson, are an unprofessional bigot. Plain and simple. Keep slinging those "talking points" to appease your crowd of sheep. It is the exact equal of Bachmann yelling "I have opposed Obama on everything"! No substance. No plan. Just mouth.

    September 1, 2011 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  23. Walter

    "My intentions weren't to hurt any one group." What a laugh. That is exactly what his intention was. But that shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone who even passingly follows the foibles of the Congressional Black Caucus

    September 1, 2011 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  24. Mark Puckhaber

    Work side by side with a bunch of Tea Party members; Carson has nailed it, they ARE a bunch of racists. The leaders being good politicians are able to cloak their racists sentiments but the rank and file are "red neck proud" and I have heard the N word in regards to PRESIDENT Obama many many times.

    September 1, 2011 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  25. TP will be flushed after use

    I don't believe all TPrs are likely to be racist, I do believe all racists are likely to be TPrs. Fiscal responsibility? Where were you when bush was crashing our economy? Smaller govt.? Why weren't you up in arms over the patriot act? Immigration reform? Why weren't you protesting when saint Ronnie put a welcome mat at the border when he wanted to bust unions? I know why the TPrs werent around until Obama was elected and so do 75 percent of the rest of us if not more. I don't care if their racist or not. Just like the big dog corporate sponsors they have don't care either. The total lack of respect for the POTUS is a dangerous game to be playing. It might be fun and games now, but it sends a scary precedence for the future. Obama will be reelected because there is no challenger. After that, is this how all presidents are to be treated? Shameful stuff. You TPrs are a cancer to our political system. Besides, the TP is only being used by corporate greed. When they get what they want, the TP corporate sponsors will flush them in the toilet without even a thank you!

    September 1, 2011 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
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