Secretary Ben Carson on Conversations at The Mansion with CXRE Asset Director Rick Walker
Season 1 Finale Episode with Secretary Ben Carson, Former Secretary of HUD, on Conversations at The Mansion. Dr. Carson is a 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees, a 8-time best-selling author, conducted the first separation of conjoined twins as the world’s top pediatric neurosurgeon, ran for President of the United States, holds 60 honorary doctorates, and was portrayed in his autobiographical movie (Gifted Hands) by Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Dr. Carson, often referred to as the most admired and most brilliant man alive, joins Rick for the Season 1 Finale Episode to discuss his philosophies around failure, success, generosity, faith, and his life-long focus on improving the education of America’s children. This wide-ranging conversation dives deep into likely the most brilliant mind by exploring the topics of Critical Race Theory, limited government, the human brain, education reform, the purpose of one’s life and his newly-launched American Cornerstone Institute.
About the show: Brand new guest-driven video podcast brings together the most interesting thought-leaders who provide viewers with unique perspectives at the intersection of media, business, politics, responsibility, and work, in a casual, fun, and free-flowing conversation at The Mansion.
Time magazine wrote an article they said this is the most complex surgical procedure in the history of mankind. One of his people came up and said, Mr. Trump, Rod Stewart just came in. And he said, I don’t care this has been. My wife didn’t like it. Because we had to take several takes with Eva Mendez pushing me. On the first several months, for every new regulation, we get rid of point two. Wow, wow. I got rid of more than 2000 regulations and several regulations I’ve heard all along. He said, sir. I am an expert marksman. And I shot you many times.
I’m Rick Walker. I’m sitting down with some of my most captivating friends to discuss topics ranging from politics and business to religion and pop culture. Welcome to conversations at the mansion. Dr. Ben Carson, welcome to conversations at the mansion. Thank you. I’m delighted to be here with you. I always like to start off, because from the public’s perspective, we see this huge amount of success. We see the 29 years of Chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, we see the four years as Secretary of HUD, we see the best sellers, we see the 60 honorary doctorates, we see all this massive amounts of success. But we want to know what is Ben Carson like behind scenes when you’re with your family, when you’re with your friends, when you’re with your community of faith?
Well, you know, first of all, I have to tell you that the center of my being is my faith. That’s really been responsible for getting me through everything. You know, I think back to the time when I was nine years old, sitting on the ghetto steps in Boston, my parents had been divorced with moved from Detroit to Boston. And I was looking through the building across the street, because all the windows were broken out. And there’s a sunbeam shining through it, it made me think about my future. And I remember thinking, it was very unlikely that I would live to be beyond 20 or 25 years. Because that’s what I saw around me. My two favorite cousins were killed young ages. And it just seemed like that was going to be the life you’d leave. And there was so many people who were always so negative, they were always saying, you know, the society is stacked against you, you know, the same stuff that they’re saying today, you know, with systemic racism, except then it was true. Now, it’s not sure. And but, you know, I had a mother who was so determined, she had less than a third grade education. And, you know, came from a huge rural family, got married at age 13 discovered that her husband was a bigamist years later, and course, they got divorced. But there she was trying to raise us by herself. And obviously, we had no place to live. And that’s how we ended up in Boston with her older sister and brother in law, a typical tenement there. But, you know, she wanted something better for us. And she worked very hard to three jobs at a time getting up, leaving the house at five in the morning, getting back after midnight, wow. She wasn’t enamored of the idea of of welfare, and she wants to be able to do things herself. And after a couple of years, we were able to move back to Detroit, still in a multifamily, dwelling, horrible area, but nevertheless, she was independent. And she was just terrified that both my brother and myself were terrible students, because we lived right at the railroad tracks, railroad tracks, sort of separated the black area from the white area, and we live just across on the white area. So we went to the white school. And in the teachers really didn’t expect you to do very well. So, you know, that was, like normal. Yeah. Horrible student. And that’s the way it was supposed to be. But she wasn’t accepting that at all. And she was actually, even though she had less than a third grade education, she’s very wise. And, you know, she was cleaning the homes of wealthy people. And she was observing them to us. And she was saying, you know, I think the reason these people do so well is because they read a lot they study and so she came home and impose that on me, my brother and we were not happy campers. You guys were watching TV all day, having a good time. And all of a sudden, she says, you know, you can only watch two or three TV programs pre selected during the week. And with all that spare time, you’re going to have to read two books a piece from the Detroit Public Library and submit to me a written book report every week or every week, wow, every week. And, you know, if it had been today’s where we would call social services carried away in the aircraft’s. But, you know, there we were. And, you know, I didn’t like it very much in the beginning. But after a while, I actually started to enjoy reading books, because it was much more entertaining than television. Well, first of all, you got to look, you’re looking at words all the time. So you learn how to spell s. And then you have to put those words together. So you learn grammar and syntax. And then you have to take those sentences and make them the concepts they use your imagination. And that’s much more entertaining than watching what somebody else imagined. Certainly. And, you know, the important thing is, I started reading about scientists, and explorers, and entrepreneurs and surgeons, and I started thinking, as I read all of their stories,
that the person who has the most to do it, what happens to you, is you it’s not some circumstances, not somebody else. It’s not some obstacle that somebody puts up. It’s how you face those obstacles? And do you let those obstacles become a barrier? And an excuse for failure? Or do you let that obstacle become a hurdle which strengthens you, every time you jump over? I chose the ladder. And, you know, within a year and a half, I went from the bottom of the class to the top of the class, much to the consternation of all those students who used to laugh and call me dummy. Now they were coming to me asking me how. And I would say sit at my feet. It was probably a little obnoxious, but it sure felt good to say that to those turkeys. But I had a complete revolution in the way that I thought and the same thing happened with my brother. Exactly the same thing. And, you know, off, I went to Yale University, won a scholarship. You know, I I only applied to one college because I only had enough money to apply to one college. And my, my favorite TV show was a show called g college ball. Okay. It came on every Sunday, and they pitched it to colleges against each other for contestants on each one. And they would ask questions about science and math and history. I was really good. But they would also ask questions about classical music, and classical art. And there was no way you were going to learn that stuff in, in southwest Detroit. But, you know, I made an executive decision. I started going down to the Detroit Institute of Art, day after day, week after week, month after month, roaming to those galleries until I knew every painting coupe that when they were born, when they died, what period it represented. always listening to my portable radio back telemon lots out kids in Detroit. I was not, you know, a black kid in Motown. I tried to convince him that Motown met Mozart, but nobody, but you know, it gave me a tremendous body of knowledge. And, you know, I was accepted at Yale, I said, I was gonna apply to the college that won the grand championship and College Bowl that year, and it was grand championship was between Harvard and Yale. And Yale just demolished Harvard. So I didn’t want to go to school, a bunch of dummies, I applied to Yale, they accepted me. And but I want it to be on college. But the year I went, there was the year college, but when after. But it was sort of a traumatic experience, though, because, you know, I was used to just studying a half an hour before a test and getting an A. So I wasn’t that diligent student, quite frankly. And interestingly enough, I was not doing well as you might have imagined. Yes, I came to the end of that first semester, and I was failing freshman chemistry and I was pre med, and you can’t fail chemistry and be pre med. So, you know, it was the night before the final exams. And I just said, Lord, I always thought you want me to be a doctor, it’s the only thing I ever want to do is to be a doctor. First, I want to be a missionary doctor, then I want to be a psychiatrist. But it was always some kind of doctor. And I said, obviously, I’m not going to be a doctor. Because I’m going to fail chemistry. I said, so could you please tell me what it is you really want me to? Or alternatively, and preferably work America. And then I took this big thick chemistry book, and I’m going through, I’m going to go through this whole thing and one night, and of course, I fell asleep. And I dreamed I was in the auditorium, the chemistry auditorium where the lectures were given, just me and a nebulous figure, working chemistry problems on the blackboard. And I awakened very early in the morning, and the dream was so vivid, in my mind, I started looking at the stuff that the nebulous figure was writing out. And the next day, when I went to take my chemistry exam,
I opened the test booklet. And the first problem I said, Wow, that’s one of the ones I dreamed of that, wow, boom, that was easy turn the page, same thing, I aced it, I was one of the first people out got a great mark on it. And I just said, Lord, it’s obvious you want me to be a doctor. And I said, I’m never gonna put you in that position. Again, I’m gonna study. And that didn’t make a big difference. But then it was on to medical school, at the University of Michigan. And, you know, I did poorly on the first set of comprehensive exams. And so poorly, in fact, that my counselor, the person that they assigned to get you through, you know, I had to go and see him. And he looked at my record, he said, You seem like a very intelligent young man. He says, I bet there’s a lot of things you could do outside of medicine. And he said, you know that your situation is hopeless, you know, so you should really drop out, we can help get you into some other program or something. And I was devastated. I just went back to my apartment. And I just prayed, I said, Lord, help me that figure out what to do. And I, I started thinking about my life, my academic life. And I said, what kind of courses have you always done well, and and what kind of courses have you struggled and what’s the common denominator, and I realized I did really well in courses where I did a lot of reading. And I struggled in courses where I had to listen to a bunch of boring lectures, because I don’t get anything out of point, zero. And there, I was sitting in six to eight hours worth of boring lectures every day. So I just made executive decision to Skip the boring lectures and spend that time reading. And the rest of medical school was a snap after that. Wow. And, you know, years later, when I came back to the medical school as the commencement speaker, I was looking for that counselor, cuz I was gonna tell him, he wasn’t cut out to be a counselor. Because, you know, there’s so many people who are just negative, yeah, negative all the time. They’re always telling me what you can’t do, and not helping you figure out what you can do. That’s right. And it’s one of the reasons that, you know, my wife and I have taken such an interest and, you know, the academic careers of young people. And, you know, we put in reading rooms all over the country. I think we’ve got close to 235 of them now.
Yeah. And this is through this through the Carson fund, who the Carson scholars, and you guys, you guys won the prestigious philanthropic award from the Simon Yes, a few years ago. Yes. Which a lot of people that aren’t outside that aren’t inside the philanthropic world understand that. That is a huge deal. It’s
a huge award comes with $250,000. And we also won the Ronald McDonald charity award with comes with a check for 100,000. Wow. And Ford Foundation and a bunch of stuff, but, you know, because what we tried to do is encourage young people not only to excel academically, but also to care about other people. So you can’t win unless you have at least a 3.75 grade point average. And you have demonstrated significant humanitarian qualities. And because we’re really trying to create the future leaders, there plenty of people who are smart. You know, Hitler was smart. Yeah, Mark, he was smart. But they were not nice people. They don’t care about other people. And, you know, we need people who are both smart and who are caring. And, you know, I think we especially need that now. Because, you know, when you look around you, you see so many people who are mean to each other, who are cruel to each other. And, you know, they just say the nastiest things, if you don’t agree with them, they try to cancel you. And so, you know, that was the whole purpose of trying to create future leaders. And this is the 25th year, this is our 25th anniversary. And a couple of months ago, we gave up a 10,000 scholarship. Wow. So you know, it’s, it’s, it’s wonderful to see this going on. Yeah. And we were earlier this week, or was it last week, I don’t remember we were walking around in DC, near the Washington Monument, and a woman came riding up on a bike. And she said, My son is an eight times Carson scholars because you can start in the fourth grade, and you can win every year until you Wow, wow. And she was so proud of him. But I tell him, we were just as proud of him as he was. And, you know, those kinds of things have become, you know, extremely important, but, you know, just trying to help people in general. And, you know, that was the wonderful thing about being a pediatric neurosurgeon. You know, there were so many kids who really had desperate illnesses, and abnormalities, and in many cases, people had given up on them. And to the grace of God, you know, a lot of times we were able to save them and give them a second chance at life. And there’s really nothing more satisfying than that. And I run into people all the time, that come up to me, and they’ll say, Dr. Carson, my parents told me that you operated on me when I was a little baby. I just want to thank you. It’s It’s so cool to see that. But, you know, I retired. Some people think early, but someone told me that neurosurgeons died early. And I didn’t believe that. So I wrote the names of the last 10 neurosurgeons that I know who died, calculated the average age of death. And it was 61. Wow. So I just said, when I turned 61, I’m gonna retire if I’m still alive. And but then I failed retirement, because all of a sudden, you know, people were wanting me to run for president. Yes. After I gave the National Prayer Breakfast speech in 2013, which I thought was a really strange request, because I’d given the National Prayer Breakfast speech in 1997. And I wasn’t aware that anyone ever did it twice. But some research demonstrated that there was one person who did it twice. And that was Billy Graham. Wow. I said, Well, that’s pretty good company. That is, I said, Lord, I don’t know what you want me to say. And I really didn’t know. right up until the morning of the speech, which made everybody very nervous, because they wanted to know what I was gonna say, yes.
But after that speech, you know, everybody’s saying you gotta run for Branson. And I said, Get out of my face and be taken as Why would I run for president? But they just kept saying it everywhere I went, you kind of run for president run, been run rallies every place I went people play cards, and I said, This is ridiculous. If I keep ignoring on the go away, but they didn’t, they got louder. I had over 500,000 petitions in my office to run for president could barely get in the office. And finally, I just said, Lord, you know, I don’t want to run for president. I said, I don’t have any of the things that people who run for president have a Rolodex with all the important names. A big war chest of money, an organization. I said so, you know, it really be impractical for me Unless you provide all that stuff, next thing I knew I had an organization, they were raising more money than rnc every month. It was just incredible.
You came out of the gate and you were pulling one or two, almost immediately, it seemed like it was very, very quick.
Well, right after the first debate, yeah. When people really started to get to know me, which is why I was always saying, why don’t you guys ask me a question? Yes, but, you know, it all worked out. You know, I discovered that philosophically, I was very similar to President Trump. personality wise, we were very different, but philosophically, same ideals, particularly about what to do to stimulate the economy and get things going again, and how a rising tide floats all boats, you don’t have to necessarily pick this group or that group, just fix it so that it helps everybody. And that’s the way to do things. And then, you know, ending up as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, which was an area that I chose, because I was very interested in what was happening with the poor in our country, and how that dependency was being encouraged by the system that we had. For instance, you know, if you’re getting a housing subsidy, and you get a raise, you make more money, you have to report that immediately, so your rent can go up. Or if you bring somebody into your household who’s making money, you have to report that so your rent can go up, not particularly conducive to Family Development. And, you know, I was very impressed by the Brookings Institute, in their study on poverty did a massive study on poverty, which concluded that it was relatively easy for people not to live in poverty, there are certain things they had to do finish high school, get married, get a job, and wait till you’re married to have children. If you do those things, you have less than a 2% chance of living in poverty, I don’t care what color us the Ron Haskins success sequence. Yeah. And, you know, why were our policies, not taking those things into consideration, in many cases moving in exactly the opposite direction. And then we wonder why we have increasing poverty or why we haven’t won the war on poverty since it was declared, and more than $19 trillion spent. And so we started enacting programs that would change that. And, you know, opportunity zones, getting people to invest unrealized capital gains and neglected areas, but economically neglected areas. So people were saying, well, you guys are just trying to find ways for rich people to get richer, you don’t really care about the poor people. But the fact of the matter is, rich people going to get richer anyway, they’re going to invest their money somewhere anyway, if you can encourage them to invest it in areas that are economically neglected. That’s a win win situation. And, you know, when the analysis was done, and it was shown how many jobs were created? And how many people were lifted out of poverty? You know, a lot of that criticism began to wane away. That’s right. That’s right. And then, you know, we started the foster youth to independence program, because for us, we’re just coming out of foster care. And, you know, a lot of them ending up homeless, because they didn’t have a support system. And can you imagine being 18 years old, and then all of a sudden, you’re out there on the street. And so, you know, that was pretty, pretty awful. Yeah. And then the Envision centers, where we, there are a lot of services that already exist to help people, but they’re scattered all over the place. Bring them all under one roof, coordinate them, along with the federal and state programs. And then it makes it much easier for that woman who doesn’t have a GED, but has three little kids. Comment, find out how she can get childcare, how she can get a GED house, you can get further training, so that she can become independent and begin to teach it to her children so you can break those cycles of poverty. You know, all the problems that we have, I really think are solvable with a little bit of logic and common sense take the politics out of it.
That’s right. That’s right. Your senate testimony going into that I was trying to reason how it is a pediatric neurosurgeon was going to run this massive organization cut. But your senate testimony made it very, very clear of the tie ins, the implications, the correlations between good housing, fordable, housing, children’s education and health and how, and if you run it correctly, the housing administration costs would eventually be paid for by the increases in educational quality, the learning competency, and also the health benefits, it seemed like,
right, but it seems, what I learned very quickly is that there is a segment of Washington that really is not interested in people getting out of poverty in and out dependency, and they fight you tooth and nail, when you start doing things that will get people out of those situations. So this is obviously going to be an ongoing issue. It’s one of the reasons that a lot of the people that I worked with, at HUD, have joined me and the new endeavor, the American Cornerstone Institute. Because we don’t want to see our country go down another pathway. We believe that the principles that were behind the establishment of this country, and what this country represents, you know, freedom, liberty, and justice. And there are those who just don’t like us, and they want us to change into something, some other kind of society. And, you know, those Cornerstone principles are faith, which now we’re unique in the sense that our founding document says that our rights and privileges come from God, not from government. And that’s the way we have lived until recently, when there are those who are trying to replace God, with government, yes. And you give government all the power, they take care of you from cradle to grave, except it never works, because they always run out of money. That’s been the case, as socialism and communism have been tried throughout the world. And I don’t think we’re going to show that it’s any different here. And then also, your faith teaches you how to react to other people, to love your neighbor, not to cancel your neighbor, or to hate your neighbor. And then the next Cornerstone is liberty. You know, people came to this country from all over the world, because they were so attracted to the idea of being able to lead the life that you want to leave as long as you’re not infringing upon somebody else’s rights. And that drew people from every aspect of the world. And now we’re in the process of changing that. And some people say, Well, we haven’t lost any of our liberties. Yes, we have. Almost no one is willing to speak freely anymore. It’s always let’s see, am I gonna get in trouble? Am I gonna lose my child? Am I going to get canceled? And, you know, the fact that it isn’t the government imposing it is big tech. And media, imposing it with the compliance of the government is every bit as effective as the government was a fine. Yes. And, you know, we need to make sure that the American people understand what real liberty is all about why it’s so important, and why those freedoms come from God. And then the concept of community which is the next Cornerstone, the reason that this country was able to thrive
is because we work together, you had small communities, all across this nation from seed, assign, etc. In many cases, separate it from other communities by, you know, 10s or even hundreds of miles, but they still survive, they thrive, then they grew. Why? Because maybe everybody didn’t have this skill. Everybody then had this skill, but they work together to build those communities. If it was harvest time, and a farmer fell out of a tree and broke his leg, everybody else harvest fifth crops, took care of his family. It just wasn’t an issue and that kind of camaraderie and unity He made us incredibly strong. It’s one of the reasons that we were able to pull together during World War Two, when the Nazis and the Axis powers were, you know, making progress. But it was the Americans. It was the Americans, those young men, who were able to go into massive areas of of conflict, and hundreds 1000s being slaughtered. On D day, when they got to those shores, and they were being mauled down, they didn’t stop, they stepped over those dead bodies. And they overwhelmed the access forces, knowing in many cases, that they would never see their homeland or their loved ones again. And they did that, so that we could have freedom. And and the young women who went into the factories, and produce more airplanes and tanks and mortars than anybody could imagine that that’s America. And that’s America when America works, and we work together. And has America made mistakes? Of course, do we have some warts, of course, as does every place that is inhabited by human beings, because human beings are not perfect. But you don’t try to erase your history. He tried to learn from your history, and you move forward. And that’s one of the things that we’re pushing at American cornerstone. And then the last Cornerstone life. You know, from the womb to the tomb, we need to encourage respect for life. And as we’ve gotten away from respecting life, we’ve become much more coarse, much more callous in the way that we treat each other. So one of our new programs that’s rolling out this summer is called the little patriots. And we’re trying to make sure that our young people actually know who we are. Not this, you know, critical race theory garbage and all this stuff. But what is the real history of this country? And who are those heroic figures and what made them heroic? warts and all, we take the whole thing and we look at, we make sure that people understand what were the driving principles that created a nation. That is not this horrible, evil place that they try to make it out to be? Because if it was all that horrible and evil, why would people be forming caravans trying to get in here? So they could be persecuted? I don’t think. So, you know, we just have to, to open our eyes, be logical, bring a little bit of common sense into the argument. And, you know, I find that our country is sick right now. But hopefully, it’s not a terminal illness. Yes. It’s something that we can get over. And we just need to diagnose it and bring the right treatment.
That’s right. That’s right. On May 3 foxnews.com, published a piece that you co wrote with Governor Kristi, noem about this division about this bastardization of what’s happening to our educational system, the things that are trying to teach our kids about and you you, you implied that you spoke mentioned critical race theory a second ago. Why are you so concerned about this sort of agenda being specifically talked to in the school system, and secondly, about where it implies where we need to go? Well, because it creates people who resent our country. People who resent themselves, resent their parents. It creates a lot of white guilt. It creates a lot of black and minority, victimhood. And those things lead to terrible policies. They don’t lead to unity. They lead to division. And, you know, our nation is incredibly strong. It is not a nation that can be brought down by Russia, or China, or North Korea or Iran or any of them, but it can easily be brought down from within a nation. Or house divided against itself cannot stand words from Jesus repeated by Abraham Lincoln. And you know, house divided, never has that, and it never will stand. And that’s why it’s so important that we confront this. Before it be comes the standard of teaching in our country, because our demise will shortly follow that. So we can’t be passive. And and that’s why we’re encouraging parent groups, go to the school board meetings, get involved, encouraging people to speak out. Yes, you may be targeted, you may be persecuted, you may be cancelled. But those who helped to establish this nation in the beginning, they took a lot of risks, too. There was no guarantee that a bunch of ragtag militiamen could beat the most powerful military force on Earth, it would be like Cuba, defeating United States. But it certainly won’t happen if you don’t try. And, you know, you cannot be the land of the free if you’re not the home of the brave, if to be willing to stand up for what you believe in. And you think about you think about Francis Scott Key who was on that British frigate. And, you know, he knew about the warning that had been given by the British commander to general Armistead, at Fort McHenry. He said, Take down that flag, and surrender. If you don’t, we will reduce you to rubble. And they had quite an armada out and it looks like maybe they could follow through on that. But general Armistead would not surrender would not take down the flag. And as the sun went down, the bombardment started all night long. rockets and the bombs bursting in air. And at the crack of dawn. It’s hard to tell. But he went out there. And he looked, the flag was still flying, torn and tattered, but still flying. And later on, you know, they discovered bodies of men, that the base of that flag is a trade off. So now that’s who we are. That’s America.
When God decided to make Americans, he said, I want people with a little bit of panache. I want people that are risk takers. I want people that know how to love. And, and so I think just like he created Adam at the very beginning. He created Americans. And it’s such a such a beautiful way to live your life with taking risk. And I, I see, I see that you as well. You know, only the very few people would dare to run for president of the United States, only the very few would attempt to take the most complex and complicated organism and the entire university human brain and take two of those and the interwoven connections of them and try to flesh all that out and also try to keep the most sophisticated organism to have them live simultaneously. And I see I see that Americanism in you that that assertion that God challenges us to take on risks that are unfathomable.
He does. And, you know, it requires courage to do that. And that’s what I’m trying to get the average American to understand. You know, we have something that is at risk right now. And that is freedom, not only freedom for Americans, but freedom for the world. Because we’re the first superpower that has not tried to dominate everybody else. And if we go off the scene that will change people Don’t remember or people who don’t know history, don’t realize what the world was like before the United States became a great power. With all of these despotic leaders, running around crushing anybody, they could end taking their resources and dominating their people. And it will go back to that again. But right now, we just have to come to the understanding that we’re not each other’s enemies. We’ve allow the media and those who want to fundamentally change our nation, to get us to believe that that person who has peacefully lived across the street from you for the last 20 years is now your enemy, because they have a different yard signs. And they have to be treated differently. What a bunch of garbage. You know, there’s nothing that says, in order to be cordial and friendly with each other and cooperative, that we all have to think the same things. In fact, I always say if two people believe the same thing about everything, one of them isn’t necessary. And you know, how boring would the will be if the same way that? And, you know, I say the same thing about, you know, racial diversity? You mean, who would want to go to the National Zoo? If every animal was a Thompson’s, because yeah, yeah. What to the National Aquarium if every fish was a goldfish, who want a bouquet of flowers if they were all identical? And who would want to get up in the morning, if everybody looked exactly like? That’s right. In many cases, it would be a national disaster. So you know, we should be happy that God gave us variety. And we need to emphasize, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, the content of the character, not the color of the skin. Now superficial characteristics over which people have no control is absolutely the wrong thing to judge somebody on. But things that they can’t control. That’s a different story.
That’s right. That that’s one of the biggest insults, I believe, of critical race theory is it takes away the agency takes the agency away from the white person by implying that they’re automatically racist, because that takes the agency away from from the the African American, that there’s that that’s, that’s the way they’re being perceived. And their actions or behaviors mean nothing,
right. And, and when you stop and think about it, that’s antithetical to logical thinking, you know, what to animals do. animals do not have these brains like we do. Anybody who’s done animal dissections, and have also seen the human brain knows that the really big difference is that humans have these very large developed frontal lobes. And that’s where you do rational thought processing. Animals have big, you know, mid brains and things that react. Yes. So they react largely on external visual clues. They don’t have the ability to process deeper than, especially in the present, yes, the present. Yeah. So why do we reduce ourselves to acting like animals, when we have so much more capacity? And I think that’s what we really need to start talking about. I think we also have to encourage real open conversation, particularly in places like universities that tried to keep certain philosophies away from the kids. You know, I’ve gone to some of those universities, some very liberal universities, and spoken and generally the reaction when I get done, standing ovation, everybody wants photographs. Everybody wants autographs. But they don’t get to hear that. They just hear one side of the story. And I think that’s one of the reasons that they try to keep logical people off of the campus because they only want to feed the students one line.
Yes. That’s the irony of the leftist thought process, right? Because when we talk about evolution, they want to say science is superior to Christianity, for instance. But whenever we’re talking about the critical race theory, and we point out that for instance, whenever you, you account for things like educational work, work skills, math skills, verbal skills, and you look at African American women compared to white women, you’ll see that African American women earn 7% more per hour than white women do when you take it when you normalize it for that, but they don’t want to hear about statistical sampling in that case,
no, of course, not. Everything has to serve their narrative. You know, you look at the things that happened last summer, George Floyd and all the other things that happen, they try to make it seem like that’s an everyday occurrence, or even every week occurrence, it’s not, these are things that are way off the end of the bell curve. But they go and they take each one of them, and they magnify them. And try to say, this is why we have systemic racism. And they will never admit that there’s been any progress whatsoever in race relations in this country. And yet, you know, I’ve lived in this country my entire life, except for one year I live overseas. I’ve seen enormous change since the time when I was a little kid, you know, now, you know, you see black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, black admirals, and generals, university presidents of prestigious Ivy League universities. I mean, it’s really pretty absurd to sit there and say that things have not changed. And people to actually believe that they’ve changed enormously. Does it mean that we’ve reached Nirvana? Now? It doesn’t, doesn’t mean we still need to pay attention and continue to move forward? Of course we do. But that’s the nature of progress. And civilization.
That’s right. That’s right. One of the solutions to the perceived inequality in specifically the poverty levels, has come from UCLA specifically, there’s a lady there by the name of Cheryl Lewis, who is a professor at a law school that espouses this idea of a department of anti racism, the D O, A, that would essentially be a fourth branch of the government, that would be filled with appointees that would have enforcement powers over not only the federal government, but also the state, the local government, and also private citizens. So we essentially do away with federalism, it would do away with a lot of your minutes, specifically your first amendment rights to free speech. And it would essentially set up an Orwellian society where you have speech police. And I can’t imagine that something like that would be better than their trajectory that we have right now, where you were the most powerful African American in America, the last four years, Obama was the most powerful African American male member the previous eight years. And it seems it seems like problem solved already. But they want to make it even bigger potential problem.
Well, they need to create friction, they need to create chaos, in order to justify changing the system. And also, they need to create victimhood, in lots of different areas. So they drive wedges between us based on race, based on income, zip code, religion, age, virtually any demographic they can find. They want to drive wedges to divide the population. And then to take each of those divisions and try to make them think that they are their Savior. Yes. And ultimately, they want complete control, complete power domination over people’s lives. And I don’t think quite frankly, that most Americans buy it. But because the media gets to do the broadcasting, they tend to emphasize only what they want to emphasize. So it tries to look like the majority of people believe the way that they do and that’s not the case. And that’s why it’s so important for people to stop cowering in the corner, and hoping No one calls them a racist or some other epithet.
I’m very uncomfortable speaking about it. It’s right we in at White men have been very uncomfortable speaking about it because we’re gonna have canceled culture. Exactly. And so it’s tough to solve a problem that you can’t speak about.
And that’s going to have to change. And the more people who start speaking about the better, and the media, I’m hoping and praying that they will actually come to understand. Maybe they’ll read history and recognize that when the communists and the socialists come to power, the first thing they do is control the media. Yes. Maybe they will realize that before it’s too late, I don’t know. Yes. But, you know, I actually am optimistic, which is, which is why, you know, I’m out there, doing all these things. It would be much easier to retire, and put my feet up in play golf, and enjoy life. But I really don’t think that I could enjoy it. Yes. And knowing what awaited the next generations of Americans.
You spent your entire life so far, helping the next generation helping kids, whether it says a pediatric neurosurgeon, or in HUD all the work you’ve done to help kids have affordable housing, to better their education, Carson scholarship, fine. What is your philosophy of a quality education as one of the five tenets of the American Cornerstone Institute?
Well, the reason that a quality education is so important, is because it doesn’t matter where you came from, you could come from the worst ghetto, you can come from Appalachia, it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you get a good education, you write your own ticket, you become valuable in this society. And that’s what we try to get people to understand. You know, I used to always say it, and I still do I tell some of the minority students who think they’ve been discriminated against. I said, Why don’t you concentrate? on some of the hard sciences? You know, calculus, the right answer, is there any, it doesn’t matter what to teach. That’s right. But, you know, with critical race theory, now they’re trying to say, you know, precision and the answers and only one answer, that’s racist. You know, that’s just white supremacy stuff. And I can’t even believe some of the stuff that they’re purporting to spread to our society. And I’m just hopeful that people will be a little smarter than that. The other thing that I think it’s so important to have to come back to it again, and that is the concept of faith. It really is such an important part of who we are as Americans. You know, when de tocqueville came to United States came to America, to study us, because the Europeans were fascinated with their country. They were saying, How can these people be making so much progress so quickly? What the heck is going on over there? And, you know, he was so impressed with what people were hearing from the pulpits of America, and the tremendous value that we placed on faith, and family, and community. And how that made us into incredibly strong people willing to take on all kinds of adversities and to conquer them. And when we throw away that faith in God, it has to be replaced by something else. And the likelihood of that something else being as good as God is incredibly small, which is why I think we’re seeing so much turmoil. And it also divides us because we don’t have that common thread, which binds us together. And, but it will go away very quickly if we don’t talk about and, you know, during this COVID fiasco, where so many tried to cancel church, while saloons were open you You know, we can’t allow that to happen. And we have to continue to push those values of decency, that allow us to have an improving society at all times. And so when we say we are one nation, under God, we have to make that true. When every coin in our pocket and every bill in our wallet says, In God We Trust, we have to make sure that those are not just words that roll off of our time, when we look at the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, and it tells us that our unalienable rights are given to us by our Creator, aka God, and what that has meant to us. When we go back, and we look at our history, we look at George Washington, as a young officer Curia, during the French and Indian War, at the Battle of monongahela. And all the other officers who were working for general Braddock, the, the Americans and the English were working together at that time, against the French and the Indians. And
all the others were shot and killed. George Washington, on the other hand, kept riding back and forth, and never suffered an injury. Although after the battle, he had four bullet holes in his petty code. And bullet fragment 10 is here. And years later, he was coming through the area, he had gained quite a lot of fame, he still wasn’t president, yet very again, a lot of thing. And chief red Hawk, one of the Chiefs during the French and Indian War, was very elderly at that time, he made the trip, he said, I had to meet this man. And he said, Sir, I am an expert marksman. And I shot you many times. And after a while, I told my people I said, just Hold your fire. It doesn’t matter with this man. He said, I needed to meet the man who is protected by the great spirit of love. And, and that’s the story of the bullet proof washing. Wow. And there are many other amazing stories involving the development of our nation, the Battle of Long Island when Washington was down to his last Battalion, and they were surrounded on land and one sea. And it looked like it was the end, British were closing in. And meteorological records indicate that that evening, a dense, mysterious fog fell over the area. It didn’t lift in the morning. It stayed there until he was able to escape and all of his men. And some people say it’s coincidence. It’s not a coincidence. There were so many episodes. And I think God has blessed our nation, but God never forces himself upon people. And we have to once again grasp the significance of having a relationship with God, and how that inspires and informs our relationship with each other.
That’s right. That’s right. You know, God didn’t necessarily come to make bad men good. He came to make dead men live. And it’s our decision whether we’re going to live like that,
exactly. Like I said, he doesn’t ever force himself upon us. But he has made eternal salvation available to people. And, you know, I’ve had a lot of discussions with scientists, about God even had a public debate. And in Hollywood, myself and Francis Collins on one side Wow. And Daniel Dennett, and who was the famous atheist who wrote The God Delusion? Dawkins, Dawkins. Yeah. On the other side, wow. And we had quite an in depth discussion. And at the end of the discussion, I said, Well, I think you won the argument. Because you convinced me that you came from a monkey. And I came from God. That’s great. Like course, the audience just cracked up and he was just so mad. But, you know, when you when you, I don’t demand that everybody believed the way that I did, but I say, why not apply a little bit of logic and common sense? How did we get here? Just pump and we were here. And something came from nothing. And it was completely ordered, such that our planet rotates around the Sun every 365 days, and rotates on its axis every 24 hours. And it’s at a perfect distance from the Sun so that we’re not incinerated. And I mean, it just goes on and on, you know, how does that just happen? particularly in light of the second law of thermodynamics, entropy, which says things move toward a state of this organization. So you have a big explosion, and everything becomes perfectly thanks.
They’d like to even dismiss the law of thermodynamics in even cause and effect, you know, if the Big Bang happened, that was an effect. What was the cause? Right? If that was the first instance of something natural, something outside of nature was a stripped down in nature like lightning, and cause it in the Latin, the Latin phrase is x nucleo? Neil, our nothing, nothing comes.
Exactly. And also, people say, how can you make this Congress with the Bible? How can earth be millions and millions of years old? And, you know, the Bible says it all happen in like, the last 6000 years. But the Bible doesn’t say that. The Bible says in the beginning, God created the heavens in the earth was without form and void. Didn’t say how long a period existed before he started doing stuff. So when you bring that up, Tony said, Man, but not only that, but remember, he’s got if he wanted to do it in 6000 years, if he wanted to make something that was really old, he could do it there would be. That’s right. That’s right. That’s because he’s gotten we’re not
Yeah, yeah. Well, I would I always like to point out to them, they ask the questions about time in history about the Bible is what yours is 2021. All right, I forgot what person in history, they reorder time around. This Exactly. Right. It’s it’s either at your bc because of a certain person. And so we’ve got our historical person there that that that is really here, in his resurrection is a historical certainty. Exactly. It’s a certainty. Our calendars
are based on it, even though they’re trying to redefine it. Yes,
yes, yes, yes. Well, we’d like to, we like to give a gift to to the guests that come on. And so everything’s everything’s handpicked by me. So the game here is to try to figure out why I gave you this this gift, and it should mean something to you. But this is this is it. And then I want you to tell us why you’ve tuned in and there should be a story or twos around that.
Oh, isn’t that nice? Messiah, the composition and afterlife of handles masterpiece. That’s, I’m anxious to read that, you know, George Frederick Handel wrote the Messiah in three weeks, one of the most well known masterpieces to mankind. And obviously, he was inspired. And he used verses from the beginning to the end of the Bible to do to tell the whole story of why we have a Messiah. And it’s a piece that has great meaning to me. And to my wife, who happens to be a violinist who loves the play, the score and You know, I’ve sung in the choirs she sang in the choir as she plays music. I listened to it. So this this is a perfect, perfect gift for me.
You went to john Johns Hopkins to get into the school through your Michigan interview. And at least Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays it this way where you made the comment that you love classical music and that handle compose the Messiah in three weeks how amazing that was, and he immediately extended you an offer. That was the first case the second case was in 1997, which was then your third conjoined twins surgery separation, the band is there you went back to South Africa for that. And do you remember this part?
I remember that they were playing classical music. Yes.
And so at the at the end at the end, the Hallelujah chorus. That’s right. 25 hours. Yes,
exactly. Yes. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that for a little while. But yeah. Was that was an amazing thing. Everybody was like, had goosebumps.
Yes, yes, yes. And as a former trumpet player, you’ll you’ll enjoy this that in Handel’s Messiah. He uses the trumpets, obviously the trumpets, signifying the Bible, the coming of coming to Christ, and also the rebirth as new types of citizens new types of bodies. And he uses the trumpets like that so much. So that handle one of the trumpets in the first third, it’s broken up into three parts. One of the trumpets offstage. The other one for two trumpets, not for three trumpets, because you just want the robots job is just to be a little bit of an echo of what was coming. And finally in the hallway, of course, you get the great piccolo trumpet portion there and then and then you get the trumpet throughout the duration of the third movement
and then in the in the beginning of the third the trumpet shall smile. That’s right. Yeah. Well, perfect. Thank you for that.
You’re very welcome. very welcome. So just a fun little fun little thing there. In the you’ve had you have a storied movie history showbiz history which by the way, I think I think that your your cameo and stuck on you was by far the funniest especially the scene in the in the in the waiting room speaking to the the girlfriends of the of the patients.
look quite nice attire, guys. We lost them. Dr. Carson, good news have found Bob and Walt, someone took them upstairs. Fantastic. By the way, the operation was a smashing success. Was that fun for you? It was fun. Actually. My wife didn’t like it. Because we had to take several takes with Eva Mendez pushing me as much. But no, that was a lot of fun. And, and then I don’t know if you know, but we made a cameo and gifted hands also. Yes, you were walking by. And your those both my wife and I were walking by we’re looking at a chart. Yes. It was my Alfred Hitchcock moment. But yeah, that was fun. And we went on the set. And, you know, everybody stopped and they came and gathered around and and they said, you know, this is not a job for us. This is a mission. And, you know, that was extremely touching. And interestingly enough, you might have noticed anybody who knows much about medicine knows that the scenes and the or in contrast to most medical shows were very realistic. Yes. And the reason that they were so realistic is because those were real doctors and nurses that were gotten from one of the local medical centers to play those votes. Wow.
Wow. You in there and some of the crazy Abacus procedures, which is the head to head joining. I believe there is will you use this strategy before we actually stopped the heart and you’ll cool blood walk us through Some of the more technical elements of
this procedure, and in the first case, the bender twins, they would join at the back of the head. And the outflow from the brain comes through that area. So every attempt to separate those kind of twins in the past had resolved and then then bleeding to death. And in that the twins were brought to my attention. I had already By that time, I was only 35 had already developed a reputation for maybe doing some unusual things. So that 8484 that was an 8787. Okay. And so I just started thinking about it. And I talked to a friend of mine, who was the chief of cardiothoracic surgery, Bruce writes, I said, Bruce, you know, you operate on little baby shop in a heart. How do you keep them alive? And he says, we use hypothermic arrests, we cool the body temperature until the hearts that pump all the blood out. Infant heart, we can operate up to one hour, before we have to warm the blood up, pump it back in, and then we shut the heart back into pumping again. And, and I just started cogitating on that. And I said, You know what, if we were doing a separation, when we got to the part where we had to cut through those vessels, we went on hyperthermic arrest, and then we were able to cut through and reconstruct all of those vessels in less than an hour, and pump the blood back and start the herd. And, you know, I explained that to everybody. And and I said, That’s, essentially, which just sounds just good, doesn’t it? Yeah, at the time, Time magazine wrote an article, they said, this is the most complex surgical procedure in the history of mankind. But but it worked. It worked. Wow. Wow. And, you know, we tried to do the same thing with the macabre twins. In South Africa, they were deteriorating very rapidly. And they would join the same way, yes. But when they open the chest, to put them on hypothermic arrest, they discovered that one of the twins heart wasn’t working. So the other one was doing the work for both twins. And that’s the reason they were deteriorating rapidly. Because as they grew, they were going to congest the fair because the wind couldn’t pump for two bodies. And so we got them separated, and saw that but of course, the one with no heart function, immediately died. The other one was okay, in the beginning, but then started having seizures. And it turns out that the one that didn’t have any heart function at all the kidney function, and the one that had the heart had no kidney function. So after a few days, that one died, wow. Wow. And I was, I remember, I was just devastated. I remember flying back and I was saying, God, you know, anybody could fail you need me to come out here. But, you know, it was a couple of years later that the band of twins 1997 out of Zambia, right. And of course, we had everything in place for the other twin case, including the teams, the International people over the bring them all back together.
You brought them back to Medusa. Were you done the surgery three in 1994.
Okay. And, of course, this time, it was highly successful. But it never would have been had we not done everything in preparation for it for the previous case. And sometimes, you know, we don’t necessarily understand why things happen. But God does.
Yeah, yeah. You made a somewhat unconventional choice within the band, his procedure regarding the shared sinus.
I think well with that with with the bandit case, we got to a certain point. And there was so many different vessels crossing each other that we stopped there. Separation? Because it was very hard to figure out what was going to who and what, what you could cut what you could move, sort of like a time bomb. And I said, You know what? Why don’t we close them up. And we can really study them. And, you know, allow some more collateral circulation to develop. And then we can come back later and finish the job. And the doctors from Zambia and South Africa said, that’s a great idea. And I know it would work at Johns Hopkins. But we can’t keep partially separated twins alive, they’ll die. And then I really felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. And I just prayed, I said, Lord is up to you. And I went back in there. And for the next several hours, I was operating. But I don’t remember what I did. And the other neurosurgeons after the case that we could not believe what you would do. It just couldn’t believe what you were doing. But when we finished the operation, after 28 hours, I wanted the twins opened his eyes right there in the operating room, reached up for the trachea to the other one did the same thing by the time we got to the ICU. within two days, they were excavated within three days they were eating within two weeks, they were crawling, and of course, they’re neurologically normal young men now. Wow. So Praise God. That’s amazing. Yeah.
What do you see as the role of challenges and disappointment and failure in life? Because it seems like there’s a higher good, and a lot of this, especially with the 1994 procedures that went arrive in 1997, that really, really came to fruition that there was some benefit there. How does it How does God use challenges and disappointment?
Well, I always say, nothing is an actual failure, if you learn from it. Because that’s how we make progress. You know, in academic medicine, it’s very important when you’re doing experiments, particularly in the laboratory 10 notate the results, to write an article about whether it’s successful or not. Because somebody else is going to be working on that. They can learn just as much from your failure as from your success. And they can move a lot faster if they know what doesn’t work, along with what does work. So, you know, failure is a part of life. But it’s the way that you react to it. That makes a difference. there’s virtually no one who’s done anything of significance. That doesn’t know failure. Nothing ever works 100% all the time, read up the line. But there are a lot of people who get discouraged by the failure. And they stop. And you talk to Elon Musk, you talk to Steve Jobs, you talk to any of these people, they will tell you about massive failures, and great disappointment and discouragement. But to keep going. That’s
right. It’s almost that God called you to run for president. He didn’t tell you you would when he told you to run.
That’s right. And, you know, when when I think about it, and I dissect it. You know, I developed, you know, an enormous following during that. And when I dropped out, you know, they were very disappointed. People kept sending money even after I dropped out, I could see stops. But when I threw my support the Trump there are a lot of people sitting now Now we can have but we convinced them to go with him. Because if that hadn’t happened at the rate that things were going we would ended up with a brokered convention. Yes. And we had a brokered convention, the other side with one and they would have gotten three Supreme Court picks. And I think that would have finished us off. Because what do you need to really fundamentally change the society. You have to gain control the educational system, control the media, and control of the judicial system. They were they had them all. It had been over. So We’ve had a little reprieve, but it doesn’t mean that we can relax. And, you know, I always say this is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is about people who believe in America, the concept, the idea, and those who don’t. Those who want something else. And people need to understand this is a much bigger issue than anything that we have ever faced before. This is every bit as big as the Civil War.
You’re one of the few people to run for president in a serious matter. You participated in 10 of the 12 republican primary debates before Super Tuesday, you were in a room with these people for a year or so. Who were the real personalities backstage? Because you were always in the in the tra, you were never in the TLB. So you generally had about 10 candidates or so with you?
Well, of course, Donald Trump, he was he was a major personality from the very beginning. Yeah. And Mike Huckabee was a very calming and logical voice and the whole thing. Other people merged and disappeared and searched. Rubio and Cruz merge, they would surge and then they would disappear, and then they would surge and then they would disappear. But that they were, they were the main ones. Jeb Bush, just never quite, quite on the way that he was supposed to really least the way they thought it was supposed to. Not sure his heart was 100%. And, and the whole thing. You know, I was throughout the whole thing, kind of evaluating everybody. And trying to figure out when I dropped out who I was support.
So you dropped out shortly after Super Tuesday, Trump eventually, once the nomination was the presidency, you join, I believe you’re a vice chairman of the transition team are one of the transition teams to be able to figure out how to set up the new government and ended up as Secretary of HUD Walk walk us through that that entire process, that must have been fascinating.
It was fascinating, because, you know, there was such a big change that needed to occur when we recognize that the government was just growing too big and too intrusive, and too expensive. And that if we were going to bring about a real transition, we were going to have to massively reduce the regulatory structure that existed. I mean, there were regulations for everything, to micromanage. And, you know, the whole concept of federalism was out the window. And they just wanted the government to control every aspect of your life. So, you know, one of the first things you might have noticed that came out of the administration was the rule that for every new regulation, you had to get rid of, too. But people really took that to heart. And in the first several months, for every new regulation, we get rid of 22. Wow, wow, we got rid of more than 2000 regulations and several regulations, that hurdle alone. And, you know, those were the kinds of things that were necessary to really open up the economy, to create the kind of environment and this is where it’s good to have a business man, as opposed to a politician who understands what kind of environment is fertile ground for the development of new business? Yes. And of course, by reducing the taxes and reducing the regulations. It made it really easy for people to start businesses and to hire new people and, you know, very short order. You saw happen in the lowest unemployment for African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, record low unemployment for women, increasing wages, a very strong economy. And those are exactly the things that I talked about when I was running. So I was so happy to see that and, you know, we had real alignment in terms of how that should go.
That’s right. And I think you, Wilbur Ross and Stephen minuchin, were the three guys that survived the entire four years. And Sonny Perdue. That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. Well, but it looks like if you look at the 2017, tax cuts, and job tax cuts and JOBS Act, it looks like a lot of that the opportunity zones, as you mentioned, the capital gains, treatment changes. All of that just has yours, and Stephen minuchin, and Wilbur Ross, his hands all over fingerprints all
over, it’s been phenomenal for the economy, it was amazing how effective it was in terms of new job creation, in terms of lifting people out of poverty in terms of increasing wealth, because there were 1761 opportunities. And when you haven’t heard very much about it, and the new administration, now, even though they saw the tremendous results, and people stop complaining about it, you know, about a year and a half ago, because they were seeing the results. Yes. But, you know, unfortunately, when you throw politics into the mix, bad things begin to happen. And that’s why it’s so important, I think, for people to see in juxtaposition, what happened with the last administration on what’s happening with this one? Yeah, they need to see the difference. Because otherwise, what happens is you just slowly, like the frog and the saucepan slowly get cooked, slowly slide towards socialism and communism, next thing, you know, you’re there. Now, it’s like, slapping them in the face with a cold fish. Oh, what’s happening. And I think that’s actually gonna be a good thing for our country.
I mean, let’s let’s you originally brought the opportunity zones program, it’s a phenomenal program is, let’s specifically what has to happen here. So you somehow trigger a capital gain your your investor, your mom probably sell some stock, you sold a collectible, you trigger that you can either pay taxes on it immediately, or you can defer it for seven years, or any step ups basis.
Or basically, if you if you take the investment of the unrealized capital gain, and you leave them for five years, you get a 10% decrease in the capital gains, taxes that are needed. If you leave it in for seven years, it’s 15%. And if you leave it in for 10 years, you don’t have to pay any capital gains on the new money that was realized as a result of the investment. So it’s a tremendous incentive. And it was anticipated that it would attract $100 billion worth of new investment into these opportunities zones over a 10 year period. In the first two years in a check at 75,000,000,003 quarters of that amount in just two years. It was a phenomenal opportunity. Those are the kinds of things that a federal government should be doing in order to eliminate poverty in order to provide opportunities, you know, for the downtrodden, not programs where you just hand people money, and do things that are, you know, encouraging them to climb ladders of opportunity or have lasting impact. And I think that’s one of the reasons that the previous president was hated so much by those who advocated for the status quo. This was pretty far out of status quo. Yeah, the way we’re doing Yes, but they were working. Yes. And they were working very quickly,
very offended and they were targeted pretty specifically at the census tracts that had economic issues that certain percentage of the poverty level I believe that the the governor’s could nominate to the federal government was receiving Interesting that was
right, they were able to take the 25% of the places that had a significant amounts of poverty and designate them as opportunity zones. And, you know, the plan was to, as you got these places build up to add more, and just to keep the ball rolling, until you finally were able to, you know, eliminate all of those kinds of blighted areas. It was a good plan and doesn’t, you know, mean that we’re not going to be able to get back on that pathway in the future. But I think when we do get back on that pathway, there’ll be fewer skeptics, because they will have been able to see what happens with the other way of doing things. Yes,
yes. So you have a really unique position, because you’re one of the few people that work directly with Trump on a regular basis. What was that relationship? Like?
First of all, people should know that. Trump is a really nice person is a really fun person to be around. And he actually cares about people. And the way I really first discovered that was when I went to Mar a Lago for the first time that was before either of us got into politics. And, you know, he and I were talking, and, you know, he was just so cordial. And one of his people came up and said, Mr. Trump, Rod Stewart just came in. And he said, I don’t care. This is Ben Carson. But you know, and talking to his people, the people who worked there, the people who park the cars, the people who fix the food, they just have so much love for him. And you know, that isn’t, you can’t fake that. He does things for people. There was a one time his limo had a flat tire. And, you know, fellas stop to help them, get it back on the road. And, you know, Trump wants to do something for him. And he said, No, no, no, it’s alright. So Trump said, well, Elise, let me send your wife a bouquet of flowers. Give me your address. And then he said, okay, we can we can do that. And next thing, you know, the guy got a bouquet of flowers. With a note in it, that trumpet paid off his mortgage. Wow. Wow. You know, that’s, and you know, he doesn’t talk a lot about the stuff that he does for people. But there’s so many stories like that. You don’t do that unless you have a good heart. And one of the other ways I knew he had a good heart, it’s, you know, during the campaign, we were all running. You know, one of the debates, I couldn’t hear my name announced, I was just standing. Everybody else gladly walk past. He didn’t he came, he stood with me, until they managed to straighten it out what was going on? He was the only one who complained about the fact that the moderators of the baits were not asking me questions. And everybody else would delighted. They weren’t asking me questions.
Yes, yes. Wait, and you and Trump are the only two to go up against CNBC and try to get changes, you both threaten that we’re not showing up unless you do these handfuls things. So more. You mentioned mortgages a second ago as Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Administration. You you’ve been a conservative, you have to use federal tools. You’re in fact conservative or strictly limited government folks. But you’re relying on low interest rates which involve the Treasury the Fed, you’re reliant on economical means to be able to effectuate change, get limited, low cost housing, low costs, multifamily developments done through partnership with Fannie and Freddie, what is maybe one or two things that’s changed your mind for the limited pneus of government, especially in places of direct impact to the American citizen?
Well, actually, the biggest thing that changed during the administration in my agency was the fact that it was so enough effective and efficient that we had not had a clean audit for eight years. There was so many material defects In efficiencies, the Inspector General couldn’t do a real inspection. All the accounting officers were frustrated. OMB had a hard time working with her. And so I realized very quickly that none of the programs are going to be effective or efficient unless we get this under control. Now, some people thought that I didn’t have much management experience. They really didn’t know I had to, to manage my whole division very effectively with every penny. They didn’t know that I spent 18 years on Kellogg’s Board of Directors, they didn’t know that I spent 16 years on cascos Board of Directors, they didn’t know that I had started a national nonprofit. So I had plenty of experience. And it became very apparent that we were going to have to a major overhaul of the financial structure of had. And in order to do that you were going to need not government bureaucrats. But people from the private sector who knew how to do that. So we went on arm twisting expedition, we managed to get herb Dennis a 37 year partner, with Ernst and Young, with much cajoling to come. And he was able to really, completely overhaul the system. And Brian had, like a business instead of like a government bureaucracy. And by the time we left, it was the model of all the federal agencies in terms of how things should be run. And, you know, by by doing that, we were able to improve all of our programs at FHA, Ginnie Mae, all of our loan programs, we were able to develop a dashboard, so that we could have real time input in terms of where the money was going. And what that did was gave us the ability to give a lot more flexibility to the grantees. Because we did have to spend all of our time running down every penny we see every day, what was going on exactly. We were able to build into that system, and alarm system so that we knew when deadlines were coming so that we knew who the contact of deadline and what was going on. So it improved the efficiency of the agency enormously.
You saw an explosion in multifamily development over the four years that you were there very, very affordable housing done very well. Great interest rates, great lending terms. That’s funded a lot by the private sector. Right? You also saw a great deal of veterans lending. I know after this, we’re both going to go over to a veterans vet for helping a hero who builds houses for disabled veterans, disabled heroes. What are those sorts of programs? In your mind? What role are those play in the American Society filling those gaps?
Well, they play a huge role, particularly the emphasis on public private partnerships, because you have to realize that there’s a lot more money in the private sector, then there isn’t a government. You wouldn’t know that, from what you’ve seen recently, with the government spending trillions of dollars, but that’s not trained for that was that they have, yes, that’s trillions of dollars that they’re borrowing from future generations, which is going to have a very negative impact on the quality of life, people who are coming after us. I don’t think people really stop to think about that. So what we were doing is creating the appropriate incentives for the private sector, to be able to invest in some of the multifamily dwellings and convert converting them, you know, like the rental assistance demonstration, the RAD program, converting hundreds of 1000s of units and making them into nice places. You know, one of the problems with the public housing of the past is that the government would come in with Maine’s dollars and, and build these big elaborate things and then move on. to the next place, and there was nobody who really was taken care of these places, and they would deteriorate and crime and prostitution and all kinds of stuff with. And it would just be a disaster, who would want something like that in their neighborhood, or anywhere near them. So you know, that lead to isolation. And these were just bad policies bad forward thinking. When when we do it the other way, we, with the public private partnerships, and with the local community involvement, we’re able to build beautiful mixed income places that no one is ashamed of. But again, you don’t put those in the middle of a neighborhood of single family homes. There are plenty of places around where you can put them and have Win Win situations for everybody and everybody’s happy. For some reason, as you probably know, there was a lot of controversy. You know, people saying that, no, we have to put this big multifamily development, right here in the middle of this neighborhood, because that will give us the kind of appropriate diversity and stuff that we meet. You know, what people don’t realize is that the suburbs are already quite diverse. About 32% of suburbanite are people of color. And there’s been a significant movement, particularly in the African American community, into the suburbs. And you will find that those African Americans and Hispanic families that have made unathi, they’re not interested also, in having, you know, some multifamily development plopped down without their permission. But they have no objection to having it in an appropriate setting. The kids can still go to the same schools, but you know, neighborhoods are built in certain ways. And that should be a responsibility of local jurisdictions, and the people who live there, and they ought to be the ones who can decide that, and where they have decided that they built beautiful neighborhoods, mixed income, mixed race neighborhoods in a beautiful setting, where everybody’s been happy, but let them do it themselves, don’t impose that upon them. And, you know, that was something that, you know, we really tried to emphasize. And, you know, we were making tremendous progress also with homelessness. I had developed a very good relationship with Garth SETI and, and with the governor as well, and with the various commissioners, and we actually had put together a plan to be able to take care of the homelessness problem in Los Angeles. And lo and behold, along came COVID, and everything was just yeah, pushed aside. Yeah.
Well, Dr. Carson, we’re running short on time. And as we wind down, could you share with us? First or two questions, first of all, share with us about American Cornerstone Institute, how we can stay in touch with you via that that new organization, which is a 501 c three charitable organization,
right? Well, first of all, you know, rather than retiring, which I was tempted to do after finishing it, I realized that I probably couldn’t relax anyway, knowing what was happening to the country. So the very people that had been working with me to transform had many of them came over to work with me, and developing the American Cornerstone Institute, based on the four cornerstones that we talked about, and it’s growing very rapidly. We’re getting a lot of traction very quickly, because we’re not just a think tank. We’re also a do tank. And that’s why we’re rolling out the little patriots program. The more perfect union program where we’re we’re getting people involved with the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights with the Declaration of Independence with many of our documents in our history, and in an appropriate way, we’re going to be doing a series of roundtables around the nation, we’ve already started doing conversations. And you can listen in on a lot of those by going to American Cornerstone, that gov, and the web page will come up. And there are a lot of different directions that you can go. You’ll also see a lot of the television interviews that I’ve been doing, trying to get the messages out to people in a very appropriate and timely way. But also helping people to realize that we don’t have a long time to dilly dally here, we have got to get busy if we want to save our country. That’s right.
That’s right. To close. My eight year old daughter, she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. And I said, Rosie, what kind of doctor do you want to be at B? She said, Well, I want to be pediatric doctor because I want to help kids. I said, that’s really nice for you. I’m going to go talk to Dr. Carson, who was also a kid’s doctor too. And and I said, Well, now Rosie, why do you want to be a pediatric doctor? She said that just common sense. If I’m a doctor, for old people, they’re gonna die pretty soon. But kids, they’ve had a long life lifespan ahead of them through the eight year old. So my final question to you Dr. Carson, is what is your greatest hope for Americans kids?
My greatest hope for our kids is that they will learn about who we really are. That they will get the true story of America and that they will want to be a part of it. That they will recognize that we are the greatest nation that the world has ever seen for a reason. It’s because of our belief systems. It’s because of the way that we have learned to try to be fair, how we have learned to encourage the development of entrepreneurship and innovation in a positive direction. And that they will want to be a part of that. Not a part of tearing it down, but a part of building it up.
Fantastic. Dr. Carson, thank you so much for your time.
It’s been a real pleasure being with you.