In the midst of widespread anti-police protests interspersed with destructive and violent rioting, many Americans have looked to President Donald Trump to bring an end to the chaos. And it looks like he already has a few plans up his sleeve.
In an exclusive interview with the Washington Examiner, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson revealed that the Trump administration is mulling over a number of ideas to both calm the protests and address the root of the problem.
“I think we really need to try to understand the anger, the rancor,” Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and the only African American in Trump’s cabinet, told the Examiner in an interview published Wednesday. “I probably understand it better than most people do.”
“Whatever I can do”
Among the options being considered by the White House is what the Examiner referred to as a “listening tour,” Carson said. Other possibilities reportedly include the formation of a task force designed to address issues of racism and alleged police brutality in America, as well as a renewed effort at more criminal justice reform with a sharper focus on assisting ex-convicts with finding stable jobs after they’ve been released from prison.
“We’ve talked about that, and I’ve offered my services,” the HUD secretary said of the president’s listening tour and task force plans, according to the Examiner. “Whatever I can do to help facilitate this.”
Carson also said leaders should remember that “each one of our citizens is a valuable resource.”
“We need to be thinking about how we develop them, not how we control them,” the doctor said, as the Examiner reported.
“Since day one”
The remarks came in the wake of protests — some violent — across the U.S. over the death of a 46-year-old black man named George Floyd under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer. For his part, Carson characterized the incident as “very, very disturbing,” the Examiner reported, and said it hit too close to home for him and many other black Americans.
But while Carson made clear that he supports the peaceful protests demanding change and accountability, in a separate interview, he flatly condemned those using the movement “as an excuse to vandalize and tear up the neighborhoods of the people who are so vulnerable and are least able to afford such things,” WBUR reported.
“You know, I understand the anger and the wrath, but I do not understand why they can’t see that they’re hurting the very people they purport to be standing for,” Carson said, according to WBUR.
The doctor also said he doesn’t understand the criticism being hurled at President Trump amid the chaos. “The president and I have many conversations. I do not quite understand why so many people think he’s hateful,” Carson said, according to WBUR. “When you look at the things that he’s done over the course of his life, I don’t understand it.”
“The president is very interested in the forgotten men and women of this country,” Carson added in his talk with the Examiner. “He has been talking about this since day one.”