Rep. Carson: Tea Party would be happy with blacks 'hanging from a tree'

Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, is standing by remarks he made at a recent town hall when he said that Tea Party-affiliated members of Congress see African-Americans as "second-class citizens" and would be happy to see blacks "hanging from a tree."

"This is the effort that we're seeing of Jim Crow," Carson said. "Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens."

"Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree. Some of them in Congress are comfortable where we were 50 or 60 years ago." 

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A Carson spokesman stood by the comments in a statement Tuesday.

"The Tea Party is protecting its millionaire and oil company friends while gutting critical services that they know protect the livelihood of African-Americans, as well as Latinos and other disadvantaged minorities,” Carson spokesman Jason Tomcsi said.

Tomcsi said the Tea Party's opposition to public programs that provided school lunches, jobs programs and housing assistance left minority communities unable to grow.

"A child without basic nutrition, secure housing, and quality education has no real chance at a meaningful and productive life," Tomesi said. "So, yes, the congressman used strong language because the Tea Party agenda jeopardizes our most vulnerable and leaves them without the ability to improve their economic standing."

Audio of Carson making the comments first appeared Tuesday on Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze.

The summer recess has exposed the tensions between the CBC and Tea Party-backed congressmen, oftentimes in controversial terms. In early August, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said that the Tea Party "can go straight to hell." 

In response, Rep. Allen West (R-Fl.) — the lone crossover between the CBC and Tea Party caucuses — described himself as a "modern day Harriet Tubman" leading black voters away from the Democratic Party's "plantation."