Ben Carson continues to defy the prevailing assumption that brain surgeons are smart.
The Housing and Urban Development secretary has found himself on the receiving end of intense backlash after referring to African-American slaves as “immigrants” during his first address to his employees at HUD.
“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” Carson said on Monday. “But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Twitter erupted in condemnation from advocacy groups, including the NAACP, which slammed Carson with one word: “Immigrants???”
Watch Carson’s comments in this video:
Ben Carson at HUD: “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.” pic.twitter.com/YolvoZQHX7
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 6, 2017
Hollywood followed up with a hefty dose of outrage.
Jeffery Wright tweeted: “Don’t care what he once did. I wouldn’t trust Ben Carson to operate on a crawfish head. ‘Get out the kitchen, Ben. Step back from the pot.'”
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton also took to Twitter, saying, “This can’t be real.”
This isn’t the first time Carson has been mocked for distorting facts. A neurosurgeon, Carson seemed to question climate change in October 2015 when he told an audience at the University of New Hampshire that at “any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down. Of course that’s happening. When that stops happening, that’s when we’re in big trouble.”
Carson also raised eyebrows when an old video of him claiming that Joseph — the biblical figure — built the Egyptian pyramids to store food surfaced during his failed presidential campaign (scholars contested his theory, insisting the Pyramids were built to intern pharaohs).
And in 2012 he argued that the Big Bang theory was part of the “fairy tales” pushed by “highfalutin scientists” as a story of creation.
Carson’s name soon shot up to the top of Twitter’s trending chart.
OK!! Ben Carson….I can't! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!!#dickheadedtom
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) March 6, 2017
This can't be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants. 2017. https://t.co/8CuUvnR2Mf
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 6, 2017
— AnneFrankCenter(US) (@AnneFrankCenter) March 6, 2017
Dangerous and irresponsible to grossly embellish the violent centuries of enslavement of African people in America. https://t.co/KOe0fS7rWT
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 6, 2017
Ben Carson always seems to be straining to make a point he himself cannot grasp.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) March 6, 2017
Don't care what he once did. I wouldn't trust Ben Carson to operate on a crawfish head. "Get out the kitchen, Ben. Step back from the pot."
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) March 6, 2017
Cue the twisty-ass contrarian takes on this plain-to-see idiocy from click-hungry alt right bloggers. https://t.co/r4hJgCp58c
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 6, 2017
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) March 6, 2017
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) March 6, 2017
Ben Carson said slaves were immigrants because he's been hypnotized and is waiting for someone to snap a picture. He's just crying out ???? pic.twitter.com/vPOpz4ApPt
— Nicole Tinson (@Nikki_T) March 6, 2017
Ben Carson, every time I think you can't be any more of a sellout, you outdo yourself. Slaves ≠ immigrants. How do you sleep at night? pic.twitter.com/2yZ1mRfJJX
— Take Ivanka to Work (@IvankaToWorkDay) March 6, 2017
Ben Carson said slaves were immigrants.
Trumps not anti immigration…he just wants to stop slavery.
— Stephen J. Pratt (@TheStephenPratt) March 6, 2017
Ben Carson referred to slaves as "immigrants." Also says people locked in Guantanamo are "permanent tourists."
— Matt Fernandez (@FattMernandez) March 6, 2017