Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson paused during remarks at the Republican National Convention Thursday night to express support for the family of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.
“Our hearts go out to the Blake family and the other families who’ve been impacted by the tragic events in Kenosha,” Carson said at the start of his prime-time speech.
Carson, the only Black member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, is the highest official in the Trump administration to specifically mention Blake, whose shooting sparked both protests and violence in Kenosha this week.
Carson went on to defend Trump’s record on Black issues, saying Trump — whose recent appeals to suburban voters that he’ll protect them from an invasion of low-income housing have drawn criticism for their racial undertones — does “not dabble in identity politics.”
“Many on the other side love to incite division by claiming that President Trump is a racist,” Carson said. “They could not be more wrong. Years ago, Jesse Jackson gave Donald Trump an award for the economic opportunities he created for Black people.”
Before Covid-19 struck, he added, “African American unemployment was at an all-time low.”
Carson has signed on to Trump’s new crusade to shield the suburbs from low-income housing — HUD scrapped an Obama-era fair housing rule earlier this summer at the White House’s direction — despite previously embracing a plan to use the federal government to push local governments to overhaul zoning rules that prevent the construction of high-density apartment buildings.