Dr. Ben Carson is walking back the comments he made Monday where he suggested slaves came to America as immigrants.
In his first speech as President Trump's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Carson left social media boiling with outrage after suggesting immigrants "came in the bottom of slave ships."
"There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land," Carson said.
Hours later, Carson took to Facebook to clarify his words.
He wrote: "The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. Slaves were ripped from their families and their homes and forced against their will after being sold into slavery by slave traders.
"The Immigrants made the choice to come to America. They saw this country as a land of opportunity. In contrast, slaves were forced here against their will and lost all their opportunities. We continue to live with that legacy.
"The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten, as we demand the necessary progress towards an America that's inclusive and provides access to equal opportunity for all."
Carson, a brain surgeon and former GOP presidential candidate, was addressing employees at the government department when he made the original comments.
House and Urban Development spokesman Brian Sullivan tried to clarify Carson’s remarks later on saying, "Nobody here believes he was equating voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude."
Reaction was swift, with many eager to criticize Carson for his comments.
Michael Eric Dyson appeared on CNN Monday night saying: "This is one of the most atrocious acts of historical revisionism."
On Twitter, Chelsea Clinton posted: "This can’t be real."
This can't be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants. 2017. https://t.co/8CuUvnR2Mf
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 6, 2017
The Wire actor Wendell Pierce jabbed at Carson via social media, tweeting an image of a slave that was whipped with the words, "An immigrant’s dream, @SecretaryCarson?"
Perhaps the most heated comment online came from actor Samuel L. Jackson who posted: "OK!! Ben Carson....I can't! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAF***** PLEASE!!!"