CNN anchor Jake Tapper repeatedly pressed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Sunday over his boss President Donald Trump amplifying right-wing attacks on George Floyd’s character while the nation is gripped in social unrest over racism and police brutality.
As large protests continued to take place across the country over Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, the president retweeted a clip on Friday of right-wing provocateurs Candace Owens and Glenn Beck trashing Floyd. During an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Tapper asked Carson about his personal calls for unity and how the president has acted.
“You talked about how you don’t like to demonize people,” the CNN anchor noted. “Three days after you said that, though, the president retweeted a video clip that featured conservative personalities, talking about George Floyd’s past drug use, arrest record, one of them said, ‘The fact that George Floyd has been held up as a martyr sickens me.’ I know you didn’t retweet this, but the president did. Does that help the nation heal?”
Carson stuck to general platitudes, saying that the nation will heal if we “engage in dialogue together” and make this an “American solution” as a “house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Tapper, meanwhile, circled back to his original question. “I don’t disagree with anything, but you’re calling for healing, you’re calling for understanding, you’re calling for people to listen to each other, and President Trump is retweeting a video in which people are attacking the character of a man, an unarmed black man who was murdered in the streets by a white police officer while three other officers stood there,” he stated.
“Doesn’t it hurt the country and this idea we need to have dialogues and conversations and respect each other when the president is sharing and in some cases offering incendiary statements?” the CNN anchor wondered aloud.
“I believe you’re going to be hearing from the president this week on this topic in some detail,” Carson asserted. “And I would ask you to reserve judgment until after that time.”
Besides insisting that Trump will soon address his tweeting out a clip of conspiracy theorists smearing the deceased Floyd, Carson also made some other eyebrow-raising remarks.
Asked whether he feels that there is currently systemic racism within law enforcement, the famed neurosurgeon replied: “Let’s say this, I grew up at a time when there was real systemic racism.”
Also pressed on former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s criticism of Trump’s character while endorsing Joe Biden for president, Carson said that while he admires Powell, he doesn’t “find it particularly useful to demonize other people.”