Former Housing & Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said Tuesday that it was “disgusting” to hear Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., compare Georgia’s new election law to South African Apartheid of the mid-20th Century on “The Story.”
In remarks during an cable news interview, Omar praised calls to boycott the Peach State, saying that in the case of Apartheid — which ran from roughly 1948 to 1991 — the segregationist and institutionally racist policies against the country’s Black population was ended thanks in part to boycotts.
“Our hope is that this boycott will result in changes in the law because we understand that when you restrict people’s ability to vote, you create a democracy that isn’t fully functioning for all of us,” Omar claimed of the new Georgia law, which prohibits electioneering in the vicinity of a poll, expands weekend early voting and strengthens ID requirements for absentee balloting.
Carson fired back that it was offensive that someone would use something as serious and dangerous as South African Apartheid and compare it to Georgia’s law without actually explaining the purported similarities.
“It’s so disgusting that people would try to take something as horrible as Apartheid and try to equate it to this and not to explain it,” he said. “This is the worst part. They make these accusations, they all get on the bandwagon and they will not sit down and explain it.”
Carson said Omar’s comments are indicative of a major problem in the U.S. as of late, wherein people can make firebrand allegations without backing up their claims with facts — only invective accusations like “racist” and “Jim Crow.”
“We’re not each other’s enemies. Trying to create Black victimhood and White guilt does not lead us to a good place,” he said.
Regarding Jim Crow, the segregationist laws passed by Southern Democrats after the end of Reconstruction, Carson said it was also problematic to see President Biden toss the term around with abandon.
Biden has called the Georgia law “Jim Crow on steroids” and has called Republican efforts to strengthen election laws “mak[ing] Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.”
“It’s very sad that some of our leaders, particularly the leader of the free world would be involved in disseminating information that is untrue. I wonder if these people understand history,” he said.
“Do they know what Jim Crow laws actually were? They were a mechanism to diminish the rights that many Blacks had gained during Reconstruction and they enforced segregation. The things that people went through in those days were horrendous.”
He remarked that Delta Airlines CEO Edward Bastian, who called the Georgia law “unacceptable” among other criticisms has, like Omar, not appeared to back up his claims with facts.
Carson noted that while Bastian opposed a law strengthening ID requirements for Georgia voters, it is very unlikely that he would allow someone to board one of his commercial airplanes without identification.
“I find it rather funny that the CEO of Delta and American Airlines would be saying that requiring voter I.D. is racist. Trying to get on a Delta flight or American Airlines flight without an official I.D: You’re not going to get on there.”
In the case of American Airlines, the company has come out in opposition to a similar bill in the Texas legislature.