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. oohotdog

    to prove his point investigate why the only black candidate on the republican ticket for the 2010 wisconsin state election was not elected. a democrat won the seat. republicans across the state did not vote a straight party ticket to ensure that david king, a tea party rally speaker was not elected.

    September 1, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  2. Whome

    Pure hate speech.

    September 1, 2011 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  3. Dave in Illinois

    Someone need to tell this sap that the "Race card" has been maxed out. The leftwingers just can't get it through their thick skulls that the country wants the Government to live within their means....NO MORE that?

    September 1, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. viknat

    How dare the tea party elected more minorities in the 2010 elections then the Democratic party. My guess is Carson is a black panther member

    September 1, 2011 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. El Flaco

    That cunning fox Richard Nixon invented the "Southern Strategy" for the GOP that deliberately courted racist voters, inviting them into the Republican Party. Those racist voters were disenchanted Southern Democrats who were angry at Lyndon Johnson's Civil Rights bills and the Medicare bill (which desegregated southern hospitals). “States’ Rights” was the code-word for segregation back then (and it still is).

    Ronald Reagan enhanced and embellished that strategy, and the GOP deliberately developed a rhetoric filled with code words like "States' Rights" and "local control" which were designed to encourage racist voters to vote GOP. Everyone in America also knows that the GOP is tapping this underground racist sentiment and prepping them with bogus arguments.

    Racists can't say "I hate having a Black President." because that would not be accepted by most Americans. They can say, "I hate Obama because he is for death panels, he rammed a health care bill down our throats, he is incompetent, he is socialist, he was not born here, he is for welfare bums (Black ones in particular) and against hard-working Americans (White ones in particular)" etc.

    So for every 100 comments about Obama, I'd say that 25 of them are a cover for racist motivation. This is a deliberate strategy on the part of the GOP and it has been for fifty years. Racists provide the margin of victory for the GOP in many elections.

    Everyone who went to high school should know that.

    September 1, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  6. Jeremy A.

    Rep. Carson is right that parts of the tea party movement is racist, but how this was handled is a bit of a double standard. If it was a white representative saying that part of an African American group was racist, he/she would be crucified in the media.

    September 1, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  7. Ricardo

    Wow – someone who isn't ready to apologize to the almighty Tea Party? I say Congratulations for having the guts to stand up and say what many people think. "Tea party officials have previously renounced characterizations that their movement is racist"... Well, that's what that movement is- RACIST RACIST RACIST !

    September 1, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  8. Get a job Hippies

    nice back peddle there congressman. typical of that side of congress say what ever you want and see if you can get away with it. and then blame the people you said it about for being the bad guys.

    September 1, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  9. Ryno

    He is 100% correct.

    September 1, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  10. John in WNY

    Oh the old "I wasn't talking about all members of....."

    Let's test that with other groups shall we? If someone said "Blacks are lazy, drug addicted criminals" would the Congressional Black Caucus, or this man accept an explaination from them stating "Oh I didn't mean all blacks, but some of them are?"

    September 1, 2011 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  11. dub1045

    The racism that is practiced daily by the "leaders" such as this guy is apalling. I as a WASP am not holding "down" or discriminating against anyone.
    The leaders of such things as the "Black Caucaus" whatever that is, practices it every day. African American boys are not expected to perform in school at levels that "white boys" do. African American Girls and Boys are having babies out of wedlock at alarming rates (70-80% of births). These are racists practices accepted and supported by the African community and it's "leaders". There is nothing I can do when a candidate for a job applies and he/she simply are not qualified vs other candidates.

    Maxine Waters and the ilk that elect her and the likes of Shelia Jackson Lee can....But the plantation mentality keeps them from demanding the excellence in their children that society and the work place demands.

    You want to see racism in America? Look not farther than the Congressional Black Caucus. The Tea Party is not the problem.

    September 1, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  12. Queen B

    I don't care what the tea party says. They are nothing but the klu klux klan without the sheets. He does not need to apologize. He spoke the truth. The sad part is these tea party people claim they don't like government yet they want to be a government leader. Many people are not fooled by them.

    September 1, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
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