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. tspink

    There is no defense for Carson's or Water's vitriol. They are the ones who are racist and their actions demonstrate that they do not belong in Congress.

    September 1, 2011 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  2. indepinFL

    I would like to know who in the Tea-Party has expressed the ideas Rep. Carson is talking about. If he can not name names or dates then his was only a lame and disgusting attempt to slander an opposing party. Racist comments from anyone should be shouted down – race baiting is so predictable – it is time to move on. Silence on this issue is condoning the behavior – it will be interesting to see who shakes out on this one.

    September 1, 2011 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  3. more of the same

    There's political posturing on both sides. Tea Party members want to prevent the President from succeeding and reduce the minority vote through disappointment to increase their chances. The democrats want to portray Republicans (and tea baggers) as racist to get minorities to vote and increase their chances. It's not to say there aren't issues, but it sure would be nice if the parties would actually act in the interests of Americans and not their respective party.

    September 1, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  4. Rod from Indy

    After seeing all the signs at the Tea Party rallies saying "Death to Obama," "Obama means white slavery," and "Obama is Hitler," I have to say I agree with his comments – non-PC or not.

    September 1, 2011 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  5. stephen

    Good grief! Why do extreme Democrats do this? And why do African Americans buy into the notion that the Republicans are racists? As an African American myself, I SEE DIVISIONS INTENTIONALLY being created by the Democrats. They created Jim Crow, they were against the Civil Rights legislation of 64' and they're against me and other minorities getting ahead. It's sad. It's sad to see a 'body of the populace', by and large, buy into the Democratic party. IT TOOK ME TWO DECADES, but I joined the Republican party because of their UNIFIED approach to civil liberties and principles and who create an 'equal playing field' in our communities so that ALL CAN PROSPER.

    September 1, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  6. Frank

    You hit the nail on the head me old son... they ARE a reincarnation of the "DIXIECRATS". For those of you unfamiliar with what a dixiecrat is, wiki it, but in a nutshell its a "Protect the good old boy system at all costs" and "If you're not white then why the hell should anyone care" party. If you stand opposed to protecting/ensuring the rights ALL americans you damn tea baggers, then maybe its all of you who should be sent off to re-education camps for your "un-American" activities. You listening Bachman and Perry? Re-education...since you both missed out the first time around.

    September 1, 2011 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  7. moonscar

    "My intentions weren't to hurt anyone or any group.".... really???? what was this then?: "Some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree" Sounds like to me you were targeting only the T-E-A party. I love racist minorities. It shows their true hypocrisy. It's all about gaining power, not equal rights

    September 1, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  8. jb1963

    He is absolutely correct. The Tea Party and republicans in general are racist and will do anything to keep minorities down. They aren't strong enough to admit it because they are spineless rats how hide under the cover of night but their actions speak volumes to their hatred for Minorities.

    September 1, 2011 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  9. patriot tea partier

    Is this is what we have come too.....hate messages to a certain core constituant. Where is all this "HOPE" that was promised by our President. How shameful is this congressman to spew the hate and bigotry from years before just so Obama can hold onto the black vote. I pitty these people that have to use "crutches" just to get attention! The Tea Party is good for this country. It's waking up "all" people on just how screwed up our political system is. Your seeing the proof of it right now!

    September 1, 2011 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  10. Bill

    So a man who belongs to a CBC(a race based group) is calling a group which allows any race, racist. Now thats funny

    September 1, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  11. Julie

    Never has a president been as obstructed as much as this one – the first African American president. Of course race has something to do with it. I've heard it with my own ears. The next African American president will probably have an easier time of it. It's pretty much a difficult experience being first to break down any barriers like race or gender, but somebody has to be first.

    September 1, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  12. Dan

    And they wonder why the Congressional Black Caucus is regarded as a joke. This caucus is everything that is wrong with Washington.

    September 1, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  13. Moderate55

    It's interesting that someone in a group that limits membership based on race (Black Caucus) is calling another group racist.

    Carson's right that some members of the Tea Party movement are racist. But, every large group has someone in it who are racist (even the Black Cacus). This is just more partisan posturing for the public and press. He's just saying whatever he believes would get attention and votes by playing on their emotions.

    September 1, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  14. Paul E Louisville

    Sorry – Rep. Carson is right. This is where our media fails us. There are multiple racist influences in the Tea Party – it's obvious to anyone with eyes and ears, yet the "librul" media just glosses right over it. With Obama backing down at every opportunity, if these people are all the future, we are screwed. Ironically, the teabaggers are screwed, too, because they vote for politicians who do not have their best interests at heart. As long as the gays ain't a-marryin' and the babies ain't bein' aborted, that's all that matters.

    September 1, 2011 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  15. Ted

    Why discuss issues when you can foment racial divisions and fear?

    September 1, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  16. Billy

    They are a lot of Tea Party who are racisit. Dont act like you have not seen it...

    September 1, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  17. FedUPwithFEDS

    Double standards ooze from this man. Anyone who opposes the current administration is a racist, we all know that the race card is meant to stir fear, nothing more and nothing less. I hope America has opened its' eyes to this debacle. VOTE for what you believe, vote for the person who benefits you and your family, not for the color of a mans skin or the false promises that are easy to spot. I dislike all politicians because they pad their pockets with our hard earned money. We work 50-60 hours a week to bring home a fraction of their pay.. How is this fair? I wish we could fire every last one of them and replace them with working class Americans and not the silver-spoon brats we have now.

    September 1, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. Alan

    Typical democrat mob mentality. I'd like to hear what this guy thinks is racist. Nobody can ever say WHAT is racist, all they do is pull the card. I'm beginning to think the 97% of blacks who voted Obama in are Caucasia-phobic. How ya like them apples?

    September 1, 2011 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. DCH.ARTS

    I wonder if Herman Cain wants to see him hanging from a tree... Typical Liberal. If you don't like what someone says, call them a racist.

    September 1, 2011 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  20. Greg

    White racists will go where the Black racists condemn. The Tea Party seems most concerned about the budget. I"m Independent and will judge candidates individually not by party association. If the candidate condemns corporate welfare more harshly than welfare to the poor to get the budget in control; I will listen.

    September 1, 2011 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  21. Matt

    Play the race card! He did it well, blame them but not all of them.

    September 1, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  22. ctrlfreq

    he doesnt need to apologize because they ARE a bunch of racists.

    September 1, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  23. Anders Perillo

    The man is an absolute disgrace....for that matter, so is the entire CBC.

    September 1, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  24. russinmaine

    Carson is a racist and a biggot, what exactly is there to defend??

    September 1, 2011 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  25. Cfrench

    All he did was say what 75% of the country already knows. The teabaggers didn't just coincidentally appear when a black man moved into their "white" house.

    September 1, 2011 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
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