Ben Carson defends Trump's assessment of Baltimore

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTrump administration ending delay on over B in Puerto Rico disaster aid HUD to roll back Obama-era housing desegregation rule Trump tells California, New York to 'politely' ask him for help with homeless population MORE on Monday night defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE's scathing comments about Baltimore, where Carson worked for years as a neurosurgeon.

Carson, the only black member of Trump's Cabinet, told Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCNN draws 7.3 million viewers for Iowa Democratic debate Trump wants To 'deescalate,' but will his supporters let him? Former Trump security official slams Tucker Carlson over criticism of strike on Iranian general MORE that while at Johns Hopkins Hospital he would sometimes find ways to keep young patients for an extra day or two to keep them from returning to squalid conditions.

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"As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I spent many hours, sometimes operating all night long, trying to give children of Baltimore and other places around the world a second chance at life. And usually we were successful,” Carson said.

“But a few days later, I was in a horrible dilemma, because some of those kids had to go back into homes in East Baltimore that were infested with rats and roaches and ticks and mold and lead and violence,” he added.

Trump spent much of the last few days degrading Baltimore and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore unveils plaques for courthouse to be named after Elijah Cummings GOP leaders encourage retiring lawmakers to give up committee posts Pelosi taps Virginia Democrat for key post on economic panel MORE (D-Md.), who represents parts of the city. Over the weekend, he described Baltimore as a "very dangerous & filthy place" where "no human being would want to live." 

He went on to call Cummings — the son of South Carolina sharecroppers — a "racist."

But Trump's own remarks, in which he described the majority-black city as "infested" with rodents and accused Cummings without evidence of corruption, have been broadly condemned by Democrats as racist.

Carson, who denied earlier this month that the president is racist amid fierce backlash to his attacks on four progressive lawmakers, again pushed back on the charges against Trump. He noted improving economic conditions for minority groups.

Carson said he believes that Cummings "is working hard to try to help people” and that he believes Trump would be willing to work on aiding Baltimore.