PHOENIX, Arizona — Dr. Ben Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon and 2016 GOP presidential candidate, was at the top of his game here Tuesday night at a rally with at least 12,000 in attendance at the Phoenix Convention Center downtown.
Carson was introduced first by Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham and second by a now-15-year-old boy, Lyle, who Carson operated on many times to help him get through spina bifida, a spinal birth defect that requires surgery to fix.
“A few years ago I would have never envisioned me being on this stage at a political rally—and it’s not that I didn’t care about politics, I actually started becoming engaged when I was 9 years old when I was getting a haircut and looking at television and I saw these people mowing down people with water hoses and dogs attacking people and I really started getting very interested in what was going on from that point on,” Carson opened his nearly 45-minute speech.
But I never really envisioned myself getting into the fray. People say, ‘you had such a wonderful medical career, why would you now enter the slimy world of politics?’ I thoroughly ask myself that too, but I can tell you the reason why: It’s because I operated on 15,000 patients, you saw one of them, and the fact of the matter is it was an attempt to give them a better life and quality of life. I realize that sure I could retire, put my feet up, relax and live the rest of my life in luxury, but that would be irresponsible and I couldn’t do it knowing that the lives of so many people in this country would be in jeopardy if we continue down the same path that we’re going down now.
Carson—who’s now polling in second place right behind fellow non-politician Donald Trump— walked through how he didn’t particularly want to run for office, but felt a higher calling to do so.
It wasn’t something that I really wanted to do to be honest with you but I kept getting pushed in that direction—and it was wonderful to be pushed in that direction—and I finally just said “Lord, you know I don’t particularly want to do this, but all the pundits say it’s impossible and you can’t put together an organization, you can’t raise money, you’re not connected with all the big money so it’s impossible so you really shouldn’t even be thinking about it.” However, I just said “Lord, if you want me to do it, you just open the doors. And if you open the doors, I’ll walk right through.”
The audience broke into loud applause. Carson’s appeal, and part of the reason why he’s surging nationwide and in early presidential states, is because he truly is a non-politician—he’s never been involved in this contact sport before. He is, however, one of the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeons and throughout his speech he frequently joked about how the political class thought he’d never be where he is today in this presidential race.
“We’ve been able to put together a magnificent national organization but I found it amusing a few months ago the Washington Post says ‘Carson’s organization is falling apart, and all his people are quitting,’” Carson said.
This is what they want to happen. It has nothing to do with reality. I just find it amusing. They said you’ll never be able to raise money, but they forgot about one very important thing: The People. We have received hundreds of thousands of donations from ordinary people, $30, $40, $50, $60, $70 donations. I personally am never going to go out and kiss the boots of billionaires and special interests. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one special interest group and that is the American people.
The crowd was ecstatic.
“This country was designed for the people—of, for and by the people,” Carson continued.
The government was there for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to facilitate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for the people. Now something has gone terribly awry and I think one of the clearest manifestations of it was the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” because along comes the government and says “this is what we’re doing and we don’t care what people think and if you don’t like it too bad.” That is a fundamental change and you know what it’s the beginning of a big change in America unless We The People decide we’re not going to have it.
It is the people who are at the pinnacle, we are the ones who are at the very top level. We are the ones who make the decision of what kind of nation we’re going to have and if we relax and we become less vigilant—as Thomas Jefferson said—the government would simply grow and grow and infiltrate every aspect of our lives and begin to control who we were and we would begin to turn into something else, but just before we turned into another form of government he said the people would wake up and regain control. I think now is the time we are doing that.
From there, Carson got into several policy specifics.
“The fact of the matter is we do have an illegal immigration problem in this country,” Carson, who will be touring the border on Wednesday, said. “We have laws and we need to be able to pay attention to our laws and what I have said consistently is we need to seal our borders—but not just the southern border, the northern border, the Pacific border, the Atlantic border, every border.”
The crowd erupted, then Carson called for a border fence and wall and extra security in addition to that.
“We can use a whole series of things to do that, not just fences and walls but electronic surveillance, drones and many of the techniques that are used to keep people out of top secret places,” Carson said.
All of those things are available to us. We have the ability to do it, we just don’t have the will to do it. That will change when we have the right administration in place. The reason that is so important—a lot of people think there are just people coming from the south of the border—there are radical global jihadists who want to destroy us and our way of life and we have to keep them out. We have to make it not easy for them to get in here. This is a matter of our own security. Then once we have that border sealed, we have to turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies. If there are no goodies, guess what? They won’t come. It won’t be worth trying to get through our borders if there are no goodies. That includes employment—we should make it illegal to employ people in this country who are not legally here.
Carson said that once the flow is stopped and the border is secured for real, he thinks for the illegal aliens still here that they should have no shot at citizenship. He said they should only have a chance at becoming “guest workers, not citizens.”
Carson continued by saying that Americans should “get to choose” who they want to let come into the country and become citizens when it comes to future immigration as well, and called for an immediate end to birthright citizenship.
“I know the 14th Amendment has been brought up recently, about anchor babies—and it doesn’t make any sense to me that people could come in here, have a baby and that baby becomes an American citizen,” Carson said. “There are many countries in the world where they simply have recognized that and don’t allow that to occur.”
Later, when talking about how he was reading an article from Politico, he called the mainstream media outlet “one of the leftwing organizations.”
“They’re like digging as much as they can to go back and try to find a newspaper article from over 20 years ago, in which I said if a woman was pregnant and she had a baby with a horrible deformity and her life was in jeopardy, the question was would I make sure that they got to hear both sides—because my side is I’m very pro-life and I don’t want anything done,” Carson said.
But of course I would make sure they heard both sides. That’s only reasonable. But they tried to take that to say “Carson refers people on to abortionists”—that’s total crap, you know? Then of course last week they take the thing where my name is on a research paper because as the surgeon I take a specimen of abnormal tissue from the brain of a child, submit it to a pathologist who then compare it with their tissue samples. They have tissue samples from a one-day-old fertilized egg, to people who are 120 years old and they collect those things in archives and they compare them. That’s how they make a specimen of where this tissue has likely come from—they take that and say “yep, Carson’s doing abortions and he’s taking tissue from fetuses and he’s doing all these experiments on them.” Again, total crap. Okay, look, but their goal of course is to try to say what Planned Parenthood did is okay because I’m doing it. What they depend on is people not being very informed and therefore being able to be easily manipulated. But I think people are going to get very smart, they’re going to stop listening to all these silly tales.
From there, Carson pivoted into how the electorate needs to be informed about what is going on in the country—and if armed with the right information, people will throw out the career politicians.
“Another area that I think is so important is being informed and being educated—Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson especially emphasized this,” Carson said.
Why were they so concerned about this? They said “our system, our freedom, is dependent on a well-informed populous and if they ever become anything other than that the nature of the country will change.” What did they mean by that? If people are not well-informed, then they can be easily misled by slick politicians and dishonest media and they’ll be taken off in another direction.
For instance, someone will come along and say “the economy is great. We’re doing such a wonderful job. The unemployment rate is down to 5.3 percent, essentially full employment.” If you’re not very savvy, you’ll say “wow this is great. You see what a great job they’re doing?” But if you’re savvy, you’ll know that that number can be anything you want it to be based on who you include and who you exclude and that the real number is the labor force participation rate—which is the number of people who are eligible to work who are actually working, which is at a 37-year low, that’s where the economy really is, and that’s what you see all around you. You don’t have to listen to it, you can just open your eyes and see what’s going on.
Carson said the nation’s “incredible fiscal irresponsibility” is “one of the things that concerns me most.” He cited the $18.5 trillion national debt, which he said is quickly going to reach $19 trillion.
“Trillion,” Carson repeated the word.
I mean that is a number that’s virtually unfathomable. Now, to try to put it into context, if you tried to pay $18 trillion back at a rate of $10 million a day, 365 days a year, it would take you more than 5,000 years. That’s what we are putting on the backs of our young people. Thomas Jefferson said it’s immoral to pass debt onto the next generation. Immoral. If we could transport him back to today, he would immediately stroke out. He would say what are they doing—it is ridiculous.
From there, Carson instructed everyone to go look up the term “fiscal gap.”
“What it is is the amount of our unfunded liabilities that our government owes—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all the departmental programs, Cabinet programs—what we owe money for versus what we can expect to bring in in terms of revenues from taxes and other sources,” Carson said. “If you’re responsible, those numbers should be almost identical but if you bring it forward into today’s dollars, and you have what’s known as the fiscal gap. Right now, it sits at $211 trillion. I mean it’s an unfathomable number.”
Carson went on to lay out how if he’s elected president, he’d reduce the federal workforce size, take down ISIS, support school choice, and he walked through his Christian faith.