BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Shifting from medicine to politics is proving to be slippery for Dr. Ben Carson. The famed Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon announced Tuesday he is launching a presidential exploratory committee.
Alex DeMetrick reports he’s making news for his statements about gays.
He has saved the lives of children by performing groundbreaking brain surgeries at Johns Hopkins–a medical pursuit Carson stepped away from to enter the political arena.
“I will tell you I’m not a politician and I don’t believe in political correctness,” Carson said.
Exploring a run for president, that outsider status may have pushed further out in an interview with CNN about gays when he said he believes that being gay is “absolutely” a choice.
“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out, they are gay, so did something happen while they were in there?” Carson said.
“We are disappointed to hear his opinions,” said Patrick Locklin.
Locklin is with Equality Maryland, who says Carson’s diagnosis about gay behavior flies in the face of medical research.
“Decades of research suggests being gay is inherent, being hardwired,” Locklin said.
Carson’s popularity has soared among the Republican’s conservative base, for likening Obamacare to slavery. In an earlier interview with Denise Koch, he was asked about his speaking style.
“There are probably better ways to express myself and I am more careful,” he said.
If this latest incident is being more careful, it may reflect a weakness political observers have raised in the past.
“He has no political experience. The last person to become president without political experience was Dwight Eisenhower,” said Dr. Richard Vatz, who teaches political science at Towson.
“Even experienced politicians making the kind of statements he makes would be out of the race very, very quickly,” said Don Norris, who teaches political science at UMBC.
Opinions raised well before Carson used prison confinement as an example of his belief being gay is a matter of choice.
As a surgeon, his skill went unquestioned. Politics offers no such option.
In a statement to CNN, Carson apologized for offending people.
“I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues.”
“I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended,” he added.
Dr. Carson has not formally announced he is running for president. His decision to form an exploratory committee will determine his chances if he does run.