The first full week of 2016 proved to be quite memorable for Dr. Ben Carson in his bid to win the Republican nomination for president. No other candidate managed to earn these outrageous headlines in just seven days:
* “Ben Carson’s bumbling humiliation of 5th-grader: Too painful to be called a gaffe” - Washington Post
* “Ben Carson: Gays And 'Secular Progressive Movement' Are 'Beating People Down' Over LGBT Rights, Retired Neurosurgeon Falsely Claims Supreme Court Justices Haven't Read The U.S. Constitution” - The New Civil Rights Movement
And this doozy:
* “Exclusive: House Republicans recruited Carson for Speaker” - The Hill
So here’s a quick guide to the weird, wild and wacky week that was for your Sunday morning enjoyment.
First, The Weird:
Carson asked a group of fifth-grade students at a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Thursday, “Who's the worst student?" The Des Moines Register reports about 500 people were on hand at this campaign stop when somewhere between six and a dozen students pointed their fingers toward one student at Isaac Newton Christian Academy.
The idea was for Carson to spin his oft-told tale that he was “the dumbest kid in fifth grade,” the name of a chapter in one book about him, Gifted Hands, Kids Edition.
But instead of what he expected might happen — "I figured people would be pointing around to all different people who they didn't like,” Carson told the Register — one 10-year-old boy was singled out and reportedly turned red in the face. The newspaper reported he ultimately was able to laugh about it, and met with Carson for some advice on how to not be “the worst student in fifth grade.”
Watch Dr. Ben Carson give a pep talk to the boy he humiliated in front of 500 people, below.
Second, The Wild:
Given his prior antigay statements such as sexual orientation is a choice because people in prison have gay sex, this might not come as a shock. A newly released video of Carson's views came to light last week, reported Right Wing Watch. The video shows the GOP candidate claiming gay rights advocates are demanding certain forms of speech be outlawed as “hate speech,” are claiming activists use “hate speech ridicule” to silence others, and that they don’t believe in “live and let live.”
And in that same interview, Carson claimed that not one of the U.S. Supreme Court justices now on the bench have read the U.S. Constitution, and added that constitutional scholars have made a mess of it.
Check out the video from Right Wing Watch of Carson’s interview with Trinity Broadcasting Network's pentecostal Christian evangelical Jentezen Franklin:
And in third, The Wacky:
Without being elected to a single political office his entire life, Carson revealed this past week he was nearly third in line of succession to be president of the United States.
Carson told The Hill newspaper in an exclusive interview that in 2014, “several” conservative House Republicans invited Carson to visit them on Capitol Hill, to “pitch him the idea of becoming the next Speaker of the House.”
But according to the report, Carson told the GOP members of the House “no.”
Of course, this wasn’t the only time right wing members of Congress tried to overthrow former Speaker John Boehner without success, until he ultimately retired last year.
As The Hill first reported, there’s no rule requiring the Speaker be a member of the House of Representatives. .
So why did Carson turn down the job? “It would have pretty much ruined my presidential bid,” he told the paper. “It would have been very difficult to my job as Speaker of the House. You’ve seen how difficult a time Sen. Rubio is having fulfilling his senatorial obligations. The Speaker of the House has even more obligations."
Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona told The Hill on Thursday there were three people who made the pitch to Carson, and he was one of them, but he would not name the other two, nor would Carson.