Neurosurgeon-turned-conservative-activist Ben Carson announced his intention to run for president today, which gives us the opportunity to look back at some of the most outrageous statements he has made since bursting onto the national stage with his fiery anti-Obama speech to the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.
While some candidates may regret unfortunate “gaffes,” Carson actually boasts about his extreme views, propensity for conspiracy theories and sometimes downright bizarre statements. He also relishes the blowback to such remarks, charging that any criticism of his claims amounts to an attack on free speech.
Here are just five of the wildest statements Carson has made since entering the political arena:
1) “Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery”
Not only is Obamacare the “worst thing” since slavery, Carson told the 2013 Values Voter Summit, but it also “is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government.”
In an interview the next year, Carson said that Obamacare is worse than the September 11, 2011 attacks, later suggesting that Obama wanted to “take over health care” in order to “take control” and build a “socialist/communist” country. “If there were no Fox News and if there was no conservative radio, we would already be Cuba,” he said, after warning that Obama won’t be “happy unless Fox News were shut down and there was no more criticism of his actions.”
2) Not sure “there will even be an election in 2016”
Carson envisions a doomsday scenario in which Americans will have to combat ISIS fighters crossing the southern border because the Obama administration will refuse to do so.
Due to this ISIS threat, along with the national debt, Carson explains, Obama may even cancel the 2016 election because “there may be so much anarchy going on.” He also cited ISIS and the debt during a Fox News interview to justify his fears that Obama will seize power.
He similarly told a Washington Post reporter before the 2014 elections that he wasn’t confident that there would “even be an election in 2016” if Republicans failed to win a majority in the Senate. In response to an inquiry from the fringe website WorldNetDaily, where he also publishes a weekly column, Carson vowed to fight against a potential Obama third term.
3) “A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay”
After he was widely criticized for comments comparing gay people to pedophiles, Carson insisted that gay rights advocates were trying to take away his freedom of speech and promised to never give in to the gay “P.C. police.”
Then, earlier this year, Carson alleged in an interview with CNN that homosexuality is “absolutely” a choice because “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay.” The backlash to the comment was so strong, Carson apologized and said that he would no longer discuss gay rights issues … a promise that he has not exactly kept.
4) “We live in a Gestapo age”
According to Carson, the U.S. is “very much like Nazi Germany.” The problem goes all the way to the top, Carson explains, warning that the Obama administration is “acting like the Gestapo” and recommending that Americans read “Mein Kampf” if they want to understand President Obama: “We live in a Gestapo age. People don’t realize it.”
“Think about Nazi Germany,” Carson said last year. “Most of those people did not believe in what Hitler was doing. But did they speak up? Did they stand up for what they believe in? They did not, and you saw what happened. And if you believe that same thing can't happen again, you’re very wrong.”
5) Obama may be “guilty of treason”
Carson, who repeatedly accuses Obama of violating the Constitution, said during the Department of Homeland Security funding fight earlier this year that Americans should “start talking about treason” if the president refused comply with the GOP’s demands to reverse his executive actions on immigration.
“If things are done that are contrary to the security of this country, whoever does them is guilty of treason,” he said.