Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonMelania Trump receives university's 'Woman of Distinction' award amid pushback from students California Gov. Gavin Newsom on the homeless: 'We own this issue' Trump touts initiative for disadvantaged communities in Charlotte MORE said Wednesday he does not believe President TrumpDonald John TrumpFed saw risks to US economy fading before coronavirus spread quickened Pro-Trump super PAC hits Biden with new Spanish-language ad in Nevada Britain announces immigration policy barring unskilled migrants MORE is a racist, nor did he find the president's tweets telling minority congresswomen to "go back" to other countries to be racist.

"I have an advantage of knowing the president very well, and he’s not a racist," Carson said on "America's Newsroom" on Fox News. "His comments are not racist, but he loves the country very much. And he has a feeling that those who represent the country should love it as well."

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Carson, who is the only black Cabinet secretary in the Trump administration, pointed to the president's economic record when asked what he may have meant in his tweets targeting the progressive lawmakers.

"I think you can see what the president means by looking at his accomplishments," Carson said. "Look at his policies. Under this president you see the rising tide lifting all boats. You see low unemployment — record low — for blacks, for Hispanics, for all the demographics of our nation.

"When you have somebody spending this much time and this much effort trying to elevate those who are vulnerable and who are suffering in our society, I think we should pay a lot more attention to what they are doing than what anyone is saying," he added.

The president sparked an uproar on Sunday morning when he tweeted that the progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe" should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

In the days since, Trump has doubled down on his attacks against Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez defends Sanders running as a Democrat: It's 'more than what you call yourself' House Oversight accuses Border Patrol of blocking investigation into secret Facebook group Company to provide free clothing to any female candidate MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Tlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Key House Democrat says Perez must go: 'He doesn't lead on anything' MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDon't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Omar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Will Bernie have to turn on his bros? MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThere's no such thing as a free bus Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Tlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech MORE (Mass.). He claimed that the lawmakers "hate our country" and should go elsewhere.

All four women are U.S. citizens, and all but Omar were born in this country.

Amid intense backlash from Democrats and Republicans, Trump asserted Tuesday that the tweets were not racist.

The House voted Tuesday evening, 240-187, to formally condemn the tweets as "racist." Four Republicans joined every House Democrat in voting for the measure.

Trump's Cabinet secretaries have largely been mum on the furor.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBloomberg proposes financial transaction tax GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts MORE said he did not find the tweets racist. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo condemns China's expulsion of WSJ journalists Wall Street Journal 'deeply disappointed' by China's expulsion of journalists China expels three Wall Street Journal reporters MORE said he has not seen the president act in a racist way, and National Economic Council director Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE said he doesn't believe Trump is racist.