Since delivering his headline-grabbing speech at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast, Dr. Benjamin Carson has been a busy man.
The neurosurgeon, renowned for his stellar medical career, is now receiving an elevated level of attention. Carson’s pointed speech addressed a plethora of social and political issues from a conservative perspective — and it was delivered just feet away from President Barack Obama. In an interview with TheBlaze on Wednesday, Carson shared his motivation for delivering the message, the president’s reaction to it and his views about the purportedly unspoken rule that African Americans should refrain from criticizing Obama.
Considering the subjects he covered in the keynote address — political correctness, health care, taxation and education policy — some observers wondered whether Carson was using the address as a platform to launch a future political career. When asked about this, he skirted a discussion about future political prospects, but he did say that the motivating factor behind his message was an intense love for America.
“This is something that’s based on what I believe about this nation,” he said. “That’s why I wrote the book ‘America the Beautiful.’ I’m very concerned we’re about to throw away the greatest blessings a nation has ever enjoyed for the sake of political correctness.”
With Carson standing right in front of Obama as he spoke, taking the president’s stances to task was certainly a bold move. So, naturally, TheBlaze asked him how the leader of the free world responded in the wake of the 26-minute keynote address. The doctor said that, following the speech, Obama approached him, thanked him for his words and told him that the address was very good.
“I was kind of surprised, because I figured he would just be fuming. But he probably figured that’s what everyone figured and he knew people were watching,” Carson said.
TheBlaze also asked the doctor if he was aware of comments that former Rep. Allen West recently made about his speech. West defended Carson and told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that he “violated the unwritten rule of being an African-American male” by criticizing Obama’s policies.
The doctor responded that he was aware of the former congressman’s comments. And rather than speaking directly to what West said, he went on to candidly address his views on the black community’s overwhelming support for Obama.
“I’m somewhat disappointed that more African Americans don’t kind of think for themselves and [that they] just kind of go with whatever they’re supposed to say and think,” he said.
Carson charged that Obama’s policies are negatively impacting unemployment and entrepreneurship in the black community. He also said that he has doubts as to whether African Americans would support a president with the same policies if he or she wasn’t black.
Rather than having roots in Obama’s policy-making skills, Carson claims that the monumental support for the president among this cohort has historical roots.
“It’s created by a long history of oppression and they’re very proud [of Obama] and that pride trumps rational thinking,” he continued. “I totally understand it, but I’m hoping at some point a more rational thought process will take over.”
On a personal note, Carson also detailed surviving prostate cancer a decade ago. When asked how the experience impacted his life, he was candid.
“It made me appreciate life a whole lot more, particularly after I had gotten an MRI and it showed lesions on my spine and that looked pretty grim,” he explained.
However, he later found out that they were benign and said he subsequently felt as though he ”had a new lease on life.”
There’s no doubt that Carson’s speech has created profound interest in his viewpoints, further distinguishing him as a unique voice in a pool of commentators and politicians who often use divisive tactics and rhetoric. Rather than further splintering the nation, the renowned doctor hopes to bring togetherness to the forefront.
He’s already experienced an influx of requests for him to appear on media and to speak to audiences about his views — and he told TheBlaze that he has “a zillion” people telling him to run for office.
“I will probably have to come back to work to get a vacation,” he joked (he still keeps a rigorous surgery schedule).
In the end, Carson hopes to motivate people to speak up and not to be afraid to share their perspective on key social and political issues. This message was prevalent in his prayer breakfast speech as well, as he decried political correctness and urged openness and shared dialogue. Carson seeks to inspire people to work hard to achieve their dreams.
“I would simply say that everybody has problems no matter who they are and whether they’re able to overcome them depends on how they view them,” he said. “If they view them as a containing wall, then it becomes an excuse for failure — but if they see them as a hurdle, then it’s something that strengthens them for the next battle.”
You can watch the speech that put Carson back in the headlines here.
More on Dr. Benjamin Carson:
- Allen West’s Candid Remarks on Dr. Carson: He Broke the Unwritten Rule That Black Men Can’t Criticize Obama
- 7 Fascinating Facts About Dr. Carson — the Prayer Breakfast Speaker Whose Speech in Front of Obama Went Viral
- See the Prayer Breakfast Speech That’s Grabbing Headlines: Doctor Attacks Political Correctness, National Debt in Front of Obama