HUD Secretary Ben Carson weighed in on President Trump's feud with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and his comments about the city of Baltimore. Carson said he agreed the city is in bad condition and suggested to President Trump today to work with Rep. Cummings to bring "some relief" to the city.
"I don't think Elijah Cummings is a bad person," Carson said in an interview with FNC's Tucker Carlson. "I think he actually is working hard to try to help people. And I certainly don't think President Trump is a bad person. He's working very hard – in fact, I asked him today, would you be willing to work with Elijah Cummings to bring some relief to the people of Baltimore? He said he would be happy to."
Transcript, via FNC:
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Dr. Ben Carson is the secretary of Housing and Urban Development obviously. But before that, he lived in Baltimore. In fact, he spent almost 30 years performing pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, the most famous hospital in America, which is in Baltimore. He knows a lot about the city. And we are happy to have him join us tonight.
Secretary Carson, thank you very much for coming on.
BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, HUD: My pleasure. Thank you.
CARLSON: So, you've spent a good chunk of your life in Baltimore. It's a sad city. I think it's a city with a lot of promise. What does it need, do you think?
CARSON: Well, first of all, you know, as a pediatric neurosurgeon, I spent many hours, sometimes operating all night long trying to give children of Baltimore and other places around the world a second chance at life. And usually we were successful.
But a few days later, I was in a horrible dilemma, because some of those kids had to go back into homes in East Baltimore that were infested with rats and roaches and ticks and mold and lead and violence. And I didn’t want to send them back. Sometimes I would even consider, you know, extra tests so they could stay in the hospital an extra day or two.
But now, fortunately, God's given me an opportunity to do something about it. And that's one of the reasons I’m delighted to be a in this administration. You know, while I was there, I worked on a lot of issues with many politicians, including Elijah Cummings, particularly in terms of childhood education and improving the life for the people.
I don't think Elijah Cummings is a bad person. I think he actually is working hard to try to help people. And I certainly don't think President Trump is a bad person. He's working very hard – in fact, I asked him today, would you be willing to work with Elijah Cummings to bring some relief to the people of Baltimore? He said he would be happy to.
But in the meantime, he's (ph) going to continue with the programs, you know, like the opportunity zones, which get people to take money and invest it into the areas that are distressed. There are 149 of them in Maryland. And, you know, Governor Hogan is doing a good job of helping to capitalize upon that.
But, also, you know, unemployment is at a very low level. Manufacturing is coming back, wages are going up, you know, prison reform. All of these things are happening. These are not things that a person who is a racist would do. And we allow ourselves to be distracted by these things.
And I think what President Trump was trying to say is that rather than spending your time talking about, you know, our brave border agents and investigating endlessly things that you can't find anything on, why not spend some time working more for these people, you know, who are suffering? And that he is willing to work with them. I think that's what we should be asking for.
CARLSON: I wonder if a city in which 65 percent of all kids are growing up in a single-parent household, I wonder if you can get anywhere without addressing that.
CARSON: You need to address that. You need to address the family issues.
You know, there was a poverty study by the Brookings Institute, and it concluded after a massive study that there were three things a person could do to reduce the likelihood of poverty to 2 percent or less.
Number one, finish high school. Number two, get married. Number three, wait until you're married to have children.
But a lot of our policies over these decades have not reflected that, and in fact, have moved us in the opposite direction.
CARSON: We should actually utilize the data. It would make a huge difference.