Arguing that Trump isn't racist, Carson offers underwhelming proof

With friends like Ben Carson, perhaps Donald Trump doesn't need enemies.
Image: Ben Carson, Donald Trump
Ben Carson watches as Donald Trump takes the stage during the CNBC Republican presidential debate, Oct. 28, 2015.Mark J. Terrill / AP

After Ben Carson ended his Republican presidential campaign in 2016, he soon after joined Donald Trump's team and took on a role as a campaign surrogate. That didn't go especially well.

In March 2016, for example, Carson suggested Trump might be an awful president, but worst case scenario, he'd only be in office for four years. A month later, Carson seemed to concede that he saw Trump as a bad person, adding that he understood why some conservatives aligned with the "Never Trump" brigade.

Oddly enough, Trump apparently wasn't bothered by any of this, and he welcomed the retired neurosurgeon into his presidential cabinet a year later. For his part, Carson still occasionally tries to defend his boss, though as Politico noted the other day, his efforts aren't much better than they were four years ago.

Housing Secretary Ben Carson appeared to stray from prepared remarks as he introduced Donald Trump on Friday, declaring that the president "is not a racist" and pointing to how he treats the members and service workers at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. [...]

"You know, talking to the people who drive the cars and park the cars at Mar-a-Lago, they love him -- the people who wash the dishes, because he's kind and compassionate," Carson said of the president.

The New York Times reported last week that Trump, behind the scenes, has "professed bafflement that his numbers with black voters are not higher, telling allies he assumed he would fare better" with the African-American community. (Just yesterday, the Republican endorsed the idea that he's "done more" for African Americans "than any president since Lincoln.")

There's no reason for Trump to be baffled by any of this -- his lengthy history of racism probably helps explain why he's doing poorly with black voters -- but if the president is looking to improve his standing, I'd suggest avoiding arguments such as, "The folks who wash dishes and park cars at my private resort think I'm great."

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