WASHINGTON (CNN) — Ben Carson suggested that if elected president he might be the first African-American to hold the position noting, President Barack Obama was “raised white” and outside of the United States.
“He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch,” the retired neurosurgeon told Politico’s Glenn Thrush on his “Off Message” podcast aired Tuesday.
Obama was born in Honolulu to a white American mother and a Kenyan father. Carson was born in Detroit to two black American parents.
“Like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn’t grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination,” Carson said. “Not even close.”
California Rep. Darrell Issa, who has endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for president, said Carson’s “loose talk” proves that he is not ready for the White House.
“This is the reason that political loose talk by people who are just beginning to do it is always a problem in real statesmanship,” he said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.” “The fact is that Dr. Carson is not really ready to represent America around the world.”
Carson also said that “very little” criticism of Obama has to do with the President’s race.
“You have to recognize that what President Obama represents is an ideology that is antithetical to the ideology of most people in the Republican Party. And I don’t think it has anything to do with race,” he said. “I mean, Hillary (Clinton) represents that kind of ideology also, and they’ll say it’s because she’s a woman. I mean, any guy who represents that kind of ideology is going to evoke exactly the same types of criticism.”
Most of the racism Carson experiences comes from progressives, he said.
“I think the way that I’m treated, you know, by the left is racism,” Carson said. “Because they assume because you’re black, you have to think a certain way. And if you don’t think that way, you’re ‘Uncle Tom,’ you’re worthy of every horrible epithet they can come up with; whereas, if I weren’t black, then I would just be a Republican.”
Carson, who placed sixth in South Carolina’s Republican primary last Saturday, said he’s never experienced racism from the Republican Party.
“I don’t find any particular problem being an African-American in the Republican Party. The people‑‑I know that in the progressive side of things, they like to say that the Republicans are racist. I know that. I haven’t experienced that,” he said.