Just to close the circle on an odd story I’ve been following, it’s been about a week since Ben Carson, quickly making the transition from physician to political personality, compared gay people to “NAMBLA [and] people who believe in bestiality.” And since then, it’s been remarkable to watch the evolution of his reaction to the ensuing controversy.
Step One: The pseudo apology: Last Friday, Carson told msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell he was sorry “if anybody was offended” by his anti-gay comments. No one seemed especially impressed by the quintessential non-apology apology.
Step Two: Lashing out at critics: When the criticism continued, Carson appeared on a right-wing radio show to blame his detractors, insisting that white liberals are “the most racist people there are.” He added that his critics are outraged because he dared to “come off the plantation.”
Step Three: Contrition: Dr. Paul Rothman, the dean of the medical faculty at Johns Hopkins and the CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, where Carson has been a celebrated colleague, condemned Carson’s “hurtful, offensive language” that was “inconsistent with the culture of our institution.” Immediately thereafter, Carson published an apology to “the Hopkins Community.”
“I am sorry for any embarrassment this has caused. But what really saddens me is that my poorly chosen words caused pain for some members of our community and for that I offer a most sincere and heartfelt apology. Hurting others is diametrically opposed to who I am and what I believe. There are many lessons to be learned when venturing into the political world and this is one I will not forget.
“Although I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman, there are much less offensive ways to make that point. I hope all will look at a lifetime of service over some poorly chosen words.”
I guess this means Carson is no longer sticking to the “my critics are racists” defense?
The quick transition to cause-celebre status isn’t always easy. Ben Carson is a valuable case study.