The 2016 presidential race's only declared black candidate thinks that #BlackLivesMatter is "silly" and emblematic of why the United States "can't make any progress as a society."
Republican candidate and famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson told ThinkProgress this week that "we need to talk about what the real issues are and not get caught up in silliness like this matters or that matters."
Speaking at a D.C. rally Tuesday to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding, Carson continued, "Of course all lives matter. I don't want to get into it, it's so silly. Black lives are part of all lives, right?"
"When we're talking about a culture of life, then we ought to be talking about a culture of life and not allow ourselves to get caught up in all the divisive rhetoric and terminology and political correctness. It's the reason we can't make any progress as a society," he added.
In a recent conference held by the National Urban League, three major Democratic candidates (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley) all invoked #BlackLivesMatter during their speeches. Carson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush discussed race, but steered far clear of endorsing the movement. According to the Washington Post, Carson described a racist incident from his past and told the audience, "It's not the skin and the hair that makes them who they are — it's the brain that makes them who they are."
Polling sees Carson tied for fifth place among Republican candidates, but with the lowest national name recognition of any candidate likely to appear in the upcoming GOP debates, writes The Hill's Jonathan Easley. Since headlines in 2013 surrounding remarks he made comparing Obamacare to slavery, Carson has tended to tone down his rhetoric.
As Right Wing Watch previously reported, Carson also spoke on Friday at an anti-abortion conference organized by the World Congress of Families, "a far-right organization that has faced scrutiny for its role in pushing extreme anti-LGBT laws in Russia and around the world." The event, titled "All Lives Matter," used the rhetoric of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to rail against abortion and black-on-black crime.