One of the only black people in Trump’s team has been fired for criticizing Trump

Shermichael Singleton, second from right in this picture from a NewsOne Now panel discussion with director Spike Lee, was reportedly fired on Wednesday over past criticisms of President Trump for which he had already apologized. CREDIT: Rodney Choice/AP Images for TV One

THINK PROGRESS

A senior adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was suddenly fired Wednesday, apparently because the White House discovered he had criticized President Donald Trump.

Shermichael Singleton, 26, had worked on Carson’s own presidential bid in 2016 before joining the administration. In the closing weeks of the election, Singleton wrote an op-ed critical of Trump in which he blasted the then-nominee’s rhetoric toward black voters as “a coded message from an era in our history that should stay in the past.”

Singleton had already “answered a number of questions regarding the article and expressed remorse for the piece and support for Mr. Trump” prior to assuming his HUD position in January, the New York Times reports. But administration staff hadn’t finished his background check and “this week, Mr. Trump’s advisers turned up” the op-ed and some related tweets, according to the Times.

Singleton, who the Huffington Post notes is “one of the few black Republicansin the Trump administration,” told the Times he could not discuss the circumstances of his abrupt firing.

Security guards reportedly escorted Carson’s aide out of the HUD building Wednesday.

The decision reinforces President Trump’s long-standing image as a thin-skinned manager for whom personal loyalty is at least as important as a person’s qualifications for a job. A week earlier, Trump made a similar call in rescinding plans to appoint pardoned war criminal Elliott Abrams to a senior State Department post after the president discovered Abrams had criticized him online last year.

Singleton’s case is more likely to do damage. Carson is a neurosurgeon just beginning a job managing a large suite of housing policy programs. Trump’s team has deprived him of a trusted staffer, apparently in order to preserve the president’s ego.

Alan Pyke

Did Ben Carson Just Spill the Beans on Donald Trump’s Possible Vice Presidential Picks?

Did Ben Carson Just Spill the Beans on Donald Trump's Possible Vice Presidential Picks?

Image Credit: Getty Images

POLICY.MIC

It’s not totally mind-boggling that a man who made his mark examining the workings of the human brain has some interesting thought processes.

Ben Carson, the onetime presidential candidate who has now hitched his political star to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, spilled the beans on Trump’s short list for a vice presidential running mate during a recent interview — or did he?

Read more: Who Will Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Pick as Their VPs? A Look at All the Candidates 

The Washington Post reported Sunday, having asked Carson about potential Trump running mates: “The most favorably regarded contenders after himself, he was told, were John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie.”

“Those are all people on our list,” Carson told the paper.

Did Ben Carson Just Spill the Beans on Donald Trump's Possible Vice Presidential Picks?

Source: Lynne Sladky/AP

Carson’s casual confirmation of the names set off a cascade of followup reports.

The Post later updated the story to say Carson then did some backpedaling: “Everybody could potentially be considered, doesn’t mean they are on the short list.”

The doctor was a little more circumspect about the names during a Fox News appearance:

Trump himself — who asked Carson to help mull running mates before putting campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in charge of VP operations — also tamped Carson’s Post interview down on Twitter.

Carson, the preternaturally calm pediatric neurosurgeon who enjoyed a burst of popularity early in the frantic GOP primary cycle, seems to enjoy making political pronouncements on car rides.

He once told the New York Daily News during a drive from midtown Manhattan to Ground Zerothat he had unique ideas for extracting information from terror suspects.

“I can think of some things that would be much more effective than [waterboarding], that would not be torture, that would take advantage of things that we know about the brain,” Carson told a reporter during the trip.

Asked by the News to elaborate on those techniques, Carson demurred — Trump style.

“I’m not going to tell,” he said. “I wouldn’t put those things out for everybody to know.”

Celeste Katz

Voter Asks Ben Carson: If You’re So Smart, Why Don’t You Accept Climate Change?

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/CHRIS CARLSON

CLIMATE PROGRESS

Ben Carson is not a fan of the uneducated.

At his town hall meeting in Iowa City on Friday, the Republican presidential candidate insulted people with low IQs and lamented that they were allowed to vote. He said it was “disturbing” that many people are unable to pass the written test to get into the military. He urged the audience to “read up” on the history of Islam, and said progressives are “dumbing down our society” with calls for political correctness.

All of this intrigued Daniel Schnall, 29, a graduate student at the University of Iowa and registered independent. Schnall asked Carson: If you’re so passionate about being educated, then why don’t you accept the science of human-caused climate change?

“You’ve spoken a lot about using common sense and using your brain, and I really appreciate that,” Schnall said. “And in some of the questions in the debates, you responded that you really seek the input of experts.”

He continued: “The experts in the scientific community overwhelmingly agree that climate change is a problem. Can you explain that discrepancy, and why you’re not willing to listen to the experts?”

For the entirety of his presidential campaign, Carson has been unwilling to say he accepts the mainstream scientific opinion that carbon emissions from human activity cause climate change, and that climate change will have catastrophic effects if left unchecked. “There’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on,” Carson has said, implying that humans have nothing to do with how hot the Earth is becoming.

On Friday, he responded to Schnall’s question by saying that the climate science is “politicized.”

“I don’t subscribe to the politicization of the environment, because that’s what leads to things like the Clean Power Plan,” Carson said, referring to Obama’s regulations to limit carbon emissions from coal power plants. “The EPA has said that if we implement every aspect of the Clean Power Plan, it will lower the temperature of the Earth by 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit… that’s the benefit. The cost is billions of dollars and millions of jobs. That doesn’t make any sense, because that is ideologically driven.”

There’s a lot to unpack about Carson’s comments on the Clean Power Plan. For one, he said that regulations would be useless because they would only make a small dent in global temperatures. But that’s scientifically misleading — no one regulation in any one country can be significant enough to make a big dent in global temperatures. However, considering the United States is currently the world’s second-largest carbon emitter and by far its largest historically, the idea is that the U.S. must act first to motivate other countries to do the same.

And his claim that putting carbon regulations on the already-dying coal industry would cost “billions of dollars and millions of jobs” is also dubious — according to multiple studies, the regulations would actually create jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, since both will have to be increased to meet the regulations’ requirements.

But the most notable portion of Carson’s response was what he didn’t say — and that’s anything about the actual science of human-caused climate change. Carson said the EPA had become politicized and that the Clean Power Plan wouldn’t work, but he didn’t say anything surrounding the actual question, which was why, scientifically, he doesn’t accept that climate change is a problem.

Schnall recognized this, telling ThinkProgress that he was “not really” happy with the candidate’s answer. Schnall said that while he’s “not the biggest climate change advocate,” he asked the question because he was frustrated with the polarization of climate change in politics. And for Carson in particular, he just didn’t understand how someone could preach the importance of education while denying mainstream science.

“If he’s going to stand up there and say we need to listen to the experts, and we need to use our brains — 97 percent of the scientific community agrees on this one,” he said. “It’s not just politicizing the issue. It’s a little more than that.”

EMILY ATKIN

Ben Carson Insists He’s Seen Non-Existent Video Of New Jersey Muslims Celebrating 9/11

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JOHN LOCHER

THINK PROGRESS

A day after Donald Trump made widely debunked claims that crowds of thousands in New Jersey had cheered as the the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001, Ben Carson reportedly has vouched for him.

ABC’s Katherine Faulders tweeted on Monday that the Republican presidential hopeful Carson had told her that “he saw the film” of American Muslims cheering as the towers fell in New Jersey at the time.

Trump initially made the comments about Jersey City, NJ, at a campaign rally. On Sunday, he defended the claims to This Week host George Stephanopoulos, saying, “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something.” Trump added that the alleged celebration “was well covered at the time.”

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop forcefully denied the claim, saying Trump “has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party.”

Carson, whose own advisers have reportedly questioned his grasp of foreign policy, would appear to fall in the same boat.

A Washington Post article in September of 2001 contained a single line referencing celebration: “In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners’ plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” Though Carson claims to have seen video footage of these celebrations, even the conservative National Review noted “There are no videos of ‘thousands and thousands of people’ cheering the collapse of the towers from Jersey City, New Jersey,” but rather there was a Fox News video broadcast purportedly showing a handful cheering of Palestinians in East Jerusalem on 9/11.

JOSH ISRAEL

Carson Stumbles Through Answer About How He’d Handle Paris Attacks

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AP Photo | JOHN RAOUX

TPM LIVEWIRE

“I would be working with our allies, using every resource known to man: in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources… military resources… things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources… not to contain them, but to eliminate them, before they eliminate us,” Carson told reporters at the Sunshine Summit, a gathering of Republican leaders.

Earlier this week, Carson received scrutiny for a meandering answer, which included a claim that the Chinese were in Syria, that he gave on foreign policy during the GOP debate.

TIERNEY SNEED

Is Ben Carson’s Very Bad Week About To Catch Up With Him?

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AP Photo / Brennan Linsley

TPM NEWS

“Joseph built the pyramids to store grain”

Carson’s bad week started with BuzzFeed’s resurfacing of a very strange theory he floated about the Egyptian pyramids during a 1998 commencement address.”My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said at Andrews University, a school with ties to the Seventh-day Adventist faith. He went on to dismiss archaeologists’ consensus that the pyramids house the tombs of ancient pharaohs.

The retired neurosurgeon was roundly mocked for those remarks but stood by them in an interview Wednesday with CBS News. He later welcomed “secular progressives” to ridicule his faith-based theory on the pyramids.

We’ll find out Tuesday whether presidential rival and real estate mogul Donald Trump, who hasvowed to use the alternative pyramids theory against Carson, will bring up those remarks on the debate stage.

The Carson rap ad

Carson’s campaign on Wednesday announced a $150,000 radio ad buy aimed at urban black voters. The ad featured a rapper named Aspiring Mogul urging listeners to “Vote! Vote!” over clips of Carson talking about personal responsibility and freedom. The retired neurosurgeon later said the ad was his campaign staff’s idea and he would have opted for a “little different approach.”

The founding fathers “had no elected office experience”

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday spotted a historical inaccuracy in one of Carson’s Facebook posts. Carson often replies to fans’ questions on the social media platform and bungled a fact about the Founding Fathers while addressing his lack of political experience.

“Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience…What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God,” Carson wrote.

After the Journal pointed out that several of the nation’s founders were elected to colonial assemblies, Carson’s campaign said the post was edited to clarify they had no experience in “federal” office.

Changing details about his violent outbursts as a child

On the campaign trail, in his books and in past speeches, Carson has touted his personal narrative of overcoming anger issues as a youth to become one of the most renowned surgeons and respected public figures in the country. Carson’s story of attempting to stab a friend named “Bob” in the ninth grade—soon after which he says he had the religious experience that set him straight—is the seminal moment in that narrative.

But a CNN story published Thursday cast doubt on Carson’s telling of his formative years, as nine people who attended school with him or grew up with him told the network that they had no knowledge of any violent outbursts like Carson had described. Carson and his campdismissed the CNN story, arguing that reporters spoke with people who only knew him after he had a religious experience that dissolved his anger issues. They also repeatedly declined to provide further details about the incidents of violence.

The retired neurosurgeon eventually copped to changing some of the details in the stabbing story and tales of his other acts of youthful violence, particularly altering names to protect people’s identities. He also divulged that “Bob,” the victim of the attempted stabbing, was actually a close relative.

Claiming a “full scholarship” offer from West Point

Scrutiny of Carson’s biography reached its peak Friday with a scoop from Politico casting doubt on his claim of having been offered a “full scholarship” to West Point by none other than the late Gen. William Westmoreland.

Politico’s original story said that the Carson campaign admitted that he fabricated his “application and acceptance” to the U.S. military academy. After increasingly vehement pushback from Carson’s camp and on social media, the publication revised the story to say that the retired neurosurgeon attempted to recast his previous claims of a “full scholarship” offer. The school covers the costs of its students and is effectively tuition-free.

The initial response to Politico’s story, including from many conservative commentators, was that the revelation was damaging to Carson’s campaign. That response was tempered after Politico revised its story, eventually adding a lengthy editor’s note stating that it stood by its reporting. Some of the commentators who said the West Point debacle was a bombshell for the campaign promptly reversed course and blasted Politico’s reporting as a hit job.

A no good, very bad weekend

Politico’s revisions didn’t put a stop to questions about Carson’s background. Carson, who is normally soft-spoken, got testy with reporters when they asked more questions about the West Point offer in a Friday evening press conference. He was also pressed to account for the discrepancies in his biography on the Sunday show circuit.

Topping it all off, The Wall Street Journal unearthed more episodes from Carson’s past that could not be confirmed. Carson’s former high school classmates and biology teacher told the newspaper they couldn’t remember hearing about the retired neurosurgeon hiding white students in the biology lab during a riot. The Journal also found no record in the Yale Daily News of Carson having his picture taken after he passed a psychology professor’s “honesty” test, as he wrote in his book “Gifted Hands.”

Will Carson’s polls fall?

It’s important to remember that before this string of bad press, Carson was riding high in the polls and even surpassed longtime frontrunner Trump in several surveys. Trump himself is a reminder that making outlandish or even offensive statements—think his trashing of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) military record or his disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants—may have little to no impact on poll performance.

Still, there’s no guarantee that the Fox Business debate moderators will steer clear of the Carson campaign’s recent missteps on Tuesday night. While a group of representatives for the GOP candidates led by the Carson camp drew up a list of debate demands that stipulated moderators may not ask “gotcha” questions, many campaigns ultimately declined to sign onto the effort. The moderators have also made clear that they won’t go easy on the candidates.

“We’re here to facilitate, we’re not looking to please the candidates and give them their own produced show, in any way,” moderator Maria Bartiromo told the International Business Times in an interview last week.

Catherine Thompson

H/t: DB

Fox’s Juan Williams: Ben Carson is ‘more Urkel than Thug Life’

Dr. Ben Carson, Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
Dr. Ben Carson, Jaleel White as Steve Urkel | The Raw Story

THE RAW STORY

Fox News contributor Juan Williams said on Sunday that he had trouble believing some parts of Ben Carson’s biography because the Republican presidential candidate was more like the television character Urkel than the hip-hop group Thug Life.

During a panel segment on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace pointed out that recent media reports calling into question Carson’s honesty about his violent past and academic anecdotes had become a problem for his campaign.

“This reminds me of a lot of rappers,” Williams observed. “They hype, they embellish, they exaggerate for the sake of presentation — the biography in this case.”

“With the high school incidents… I think it turns out he’s more Urkel than Thug Life,” he added. “And that’s the Ben Carson I know. I know the guy and I’m just telling you, he’s a wonderful guy but I never thought of him as any kind of thug or attacking people.”

Williams argued, however, that Carson’s story was “inspirational” regardless of recently discovered discrepancies.

“His books end up in evangelical bookstores, home schooling book stores,” the Fox News analyst remarked. “That’s how he’s known to a lot of people and they love him for that inspirational bootstraps-up, Jesus-touched life — his miracle life.”

Watch the video below from Fox News’ Fox News Sunday, broadcast Nov. 8, 2015.

Bill Maher hammers Donald Trump and Ben Carson: ‘Experience? Republicans avoid that like a gay son!’

Bill Maher hammers Donald Trump and Ben Carson: 'Experience? Republicans avoid that like a gay son!'
Screenshot | You Tube

SALON

How else do you explain “Captain Carnival Barker” (Donald Trump) and “Sleepy McCrazy-Pants” (Ben Carson)?

Comedian Bill Maher nailed it on Friday night’s “Real Time” in his monologue about Ben Carson. Following jokes about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, Maher had the ultimate burn when he said, “If neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson really believes that somebody with zero governing experience is qualified to be president, he must first let someone with zero medical training operate on his brain.”

Carson has long reiterated he’s not a politician, which should set him apart from many other candidates running for the 2016 nomination. In a January 2015 interviewwith Fox News, Carson said, “I do make it clear that I’m not a politician and that I never intend to become a politician.” Don’t worry, no one would mistake you for it.

Maher said that if there’s one thing this election has shown us it is that amateur is the new black. “If there’s one thing republicans can agree on, it’s that the less the head of our government knows about government the better,” Maher said. Perhaps this comes from their secret hatred of government and the desire to reduce the government as much as possible. How else to get someone on the side of smaller government than to make the public agree that a leader they just elected is a moron. Oh, if only they were that smart. “Experience? Republicans avoid that stuff like a gay son!” Maher declared.

This perfectly explains the GOP’s two leading candidates who Maher calls “Captain Carnival Barker” aka Donald Trump and “Sleepy McCrazy-Pants” aka Ben Carson. Yes,that Ben Carson, “who says that the Ayatollah Khamenei and Vladimir Putin went to college together? Which no one can even find a source for, except, perhaps, Ambien.”

This is the GOP frontrunner now? Maher isn’t surprised. “Because 85% of Iowa Republicans say they find the total lack of government experience to be his biggest selling point. But if their kid needed brain surgery, would they say ‘forget Ben Carson. He’s a brain surgery insider.’” Maybe that’s why the Iowa Caucus doesn’t matteranymore—just ask Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee who never became the party’s nominee.

Maher wondered where else in life does anyone apply the thinking that people who don’t understand government should be the ones that run it? A plumber? No… “The shit’s about to back up in here, what we need is an outsider,” he joked.

This has prompted Maher to completely change his thinking on how long elections should be. He once thought our elections should be like the British who take only five weeks. “No, Americans are dumb. They need extra time.”

Check out the video here:

Ben Carson Has Weird Meltdown On Live T.V., Says Obama Gets Treated Better Than Him (VIDEO)

ADDICTING INFO

Ben Carson has finally lost his cool. Throughout the course of his presidential campaign thus far, Carson has been known to be rather level-headed, at least as far as it relates to evoking emotions compared to others on the campaign trail, such as Donald Trump. Every time he speaks, his tone has been classified as “boring” or “mediocre.” That’s probably because no one has hit a nerve yet.

In light of the recent allegations that Carson lied about getting a full scholarship to West Point, things got uncomfortable enough to set him off during a news conference with reporters on Friday. This isn’t the same Ben Carson you’ve heard before. He lashed out at reporters in a big way, and while he did make a few valid points as far as the West Point allegations to set the record straight, he went about it in completely the wrong way. It definitely was NOT presidential.

For one, he tried to re-frame the issue and went off on a crazy rant about President Obama:

“I do not remember this level of scrutiny for President Barack Obama, when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite. I remember people just…’oh we won’t talk about that. We wont really talk about that relationship..well, Frank Marshall Davis…oh, we won’t talk about that….Bernadine Dohrn…Bill Ayers….oh, yeah he didn’t really know him.’ All the things that Jeramie Wright was saying….’ohhh not a big problem. He goes to Occidental college doesn’t do all that well and somehow goes to Columbia university. Well…..his records are sealed.’ Why are his records sealed? Why are you not interested in why his records are sealed?”

“I’m asking you….don’t change the subject…will someone tell me why President Obama’s records are sealed!!!”

Real mature, Dr. Carson.

He may not “remember” Obama getting great heat on all these issues, but the fact remains that President Obama has gone through more scrutiny than Ben Carson ever has.  With that said, Carson’s “memory” of things hasn’t been the best, truth be told. While the media might scrutinize and question him on this, that’s their job. That’s how every presidential candidate is treated.

If any candidate needs to be whining about media portrayal and treatment, it’s Hillary Clinton and the coverage of this supposed email “scandal.” That hasn’t proved very fruitful for them. She did an entire day’s worth of testimony on Capitol Hill, completely relaxed, even though the whole thing was nothing but a partisan witch hunt.

If anything, Ben Carson needs to take a chapter out of President Obama’s book. Shortly after he became president, Obama was interviewed and went on record saying how he expects people to try and come after him:

“I think it’s fair to say that I don’t always get my most favorable coverage on Fox, but I think that’s how democracy works. We’re not supposed to all be in lock step here.”

Real presidents know how to keep calm under pressure. Ben Carson may have seemed to be level-headed thus far, but he hasn’t been under any real pressure yet. If he wants to take the next step, he’s going to have to learn how to keep his cool under intense scrutiny.

Here’s the rest of the press conference: