Former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump from the second his own campaign ended.
But on Sunday that support was tested during an interview on the ABC News program “This Week” hosted by George Stephanopoulos.
After President trump said that he had been the best president in history for black Americans, Carson said he did not think that argument was important.
“To get into an argument about who’s done the most probably is not productive, but it is good to acknowledge the things that have been done,” he said, The Daily Mail reported.
The ABC News host played a clip of Trump’s interview from his recent interview with Fox News during a trip to Dallas, Texas where he made the claim that he is the best president for black Americans since Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation – effectively freeing black slaves.
“’I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president. And let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although it’s always questionable,” the president said in the interview.
The interview with Fox News reporter Harris Faulkner came after the protests and riots for the death of George Floyd who was killed in an altercation with police.
“’Quite a claim there from President Trump, done more for black Americans than any president since Lincoln. Do you stand by that claim?” the host said.
“Well, I will say, rather than get into an argument about who’s done the most, what has, in fact, been done, you know, the opportunity zones where they’re designed in order to bring money into areas that are traditionally neglected. And that’s been quite successful. Prison reform has been quite successful. It’s just the first step,’ Carson responded, ignoring the question, and instead listing Trump administration accomplishments for minority communities,” Carson said.
“Making funding for the HBCUs regular, rather than done on an annual basis and increasing the amount of money for that. That’s been very useful,” he said. “There are other things that need to be done.”
Stephanopoulos conceded the point but persisted in his attempts to get Carson to defend what the president said, which Carson would not do.
“That’s a fair point. So should the president stop making that comparison?’ he said as he mentioned “what other presidents have done for black Americans – including Lyndon B. Johnson passing the Civil Right Act, Ulysses S. Grant taking on the Ku Klux Klan and Dwight D. Eisenhower enforcing Brown v. Board of Education by sending in troops to defend the ruling,” The Mail said.
“’All of which is a significant part of our history,” he said as he avoided the question. “And that’s an important thing for us to acknowledge, what has happened in the past. And, you know, we should be willing to look at what we’ve done together collectively to make progress.”
It was not an abandonment by Carson, but it was not the defense the president could have used at a time when he needs all the defenders he can get.