Politics & Policy

Aide: Ben Carson’s Success Proves America is ‘Not Racist’

(Laura Segall/Getty)

Ben Carson’s strength in the Republican presidential primary proves that the United States is “not racist,” according to a senior advisor to the famed neurosurgeon.

“Some people would say today that the GOP is racist, [or that] they would never embrace a black man, but what America is showing you today is that we’re not racist,” Armstrong Williams, a longtime friend and adviser to Carson, told C-Span’s Greta Brawner Thursday. “We’re not interested in the hue of your skin. We’re interested in your ideas, your policies, your beliefs, and whether you can move America forward.”

Williams’s remarks, which track with Carson’s own previously stated views on race, bring the Carson campaign into a discussion about whether this year’s GOP field strengthens or diminishes the party’s standing with minorities. They come as the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Carson clinging to a slim lead nationally in the Republican presidential race. He leads by six points in the latest NBC survey, while the most recent Fox News survey shows him in second place with 23 percent, trailing Donald Trump by three points. 

#share#Political pundits often attribute Trump’s success to racism, given his hawkish immigration rhetoric, while Carson’s appeal is explained as a function of white Republicans’s desire to have their views validated by a black candidate. 

Williams’s comments assume that the time for such commentary is past in the United States — though not in Europe. “Dr. Carson’s progression in this presidential cycle is a tribute to the incredible spirit of America, and who and what we are and why we will remain the envy of the world,” he said. “Because there is no place, Greta, in Europe where someone like Dr. Carson or President Obama could ever become prime minister or head of state. That is why we are America.”

— Joel Gerhke is a political reporter for National Review.

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