Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Friday compared the treatment of black members of the Republican Party to slavery at an event for the Black Voices for Trump Coalition, an initiative kicked off Friday by President Trump's re-election campaign.
The news came in a tweet from CNN fact checker Daniel Dale, who was covering the event live on his Twitter page, where the president was expected to speak this afternoon.
"Ben Carson says that today, people tell black conservatives that they're bad people," Dale tweeted at about 3:15 p.m. "He says this is like 'the days of slavery,' when 'they told the ones in the house you're better than the ones in the yard and the ones in the yard, 'you're better than the ones in the field.'"
Carson, a former neurosurgeon who was one of many Republicans who ran against Trump for the Republican Party's nomination in 2016, has a history of making controversial remarks. Per The Hill, Carson last week said political correctness would "destroy our nation" when asked to explain his previous remarks that were believed to be about transgender individuals.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia, reportedly pressed Carson about his comments at a hearing last month. Carson had reportedly warned of "big, hairy men" accessing women's homeless shelters, which was speculated to be a remark about transgender people. When Wexton has pressed the HUD secretary, who asked if he would like to apologize for his remarks, the former neurosurgeon denied that his remarks were about transgender people.
Carson, the only black cabinet member in the Trump White House and one of the longest-running officials in the administration's tenure, was one of several speakers at the event for black Trump supporters Friday. According to tweets from Dale, the event also featured remarks from Vice President Mike Pence, who reportedly recounted some history of the Republican Party and the African American community as well as his own trip to Selma, Alabama.Carson is one of just two minorities serving in Trump's cabinet. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao — the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — was born in Taiwan. The rest of 24 cabinet members in the Trump administration are white, per a CNN breakdown in September.
According to an NBC News report, the Trump campaign is in the process of attempting to increase support among the black community as the 45th president ramps up his campaign for re-election. The Black Voices for Trump imitation was launched by the campaign with the rally in Atlanta on Friday and aims to educate black voters on what the president believes his administration has achieved to benefit the black community.
According to the NBC News report, the effort comes as a large majority of black voters seemingly disapprove of the president's job in office.