In a late-night Facebook post, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson acknowledged he doesn’t have “Donald Trump’s money or Jeb Bush’s political network” but argued he does have years of “public service” experience as a former pediatric neurosurgeon.
“I have neither Donald Trump’s money or Jeb Bush’s political network,” Carson wrote. “However, I wouldn’t trade a single child I treated for all of Trump’s money. While I admire the Bush family’s dedication to service, I too served — nights, weekends, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries with severely injured patients were my public service.”
Carson, who often uses Facebook to answer questions from supporters, addressed the argument from skeptics that he doesn’t have enough political experience to be president: “If all you want is political experience then I cannot be your candidate,” Carson wrote.
“I know that my path to the White House is different than most,” Carson added. “But I also know I bring all of the pain and joy, the success and failure, the lessons learned through love and sorrow in my life’s journey.”
Here is Carson’s full post:
Tonight, going through all of your questions, I wanted to touch on a few issues that seem to be asked by many people.
I would like to deal with one question tonight in some detail. The issue is experience. Several people ask what they should tell their friends when people say “I like Carson but he has no political experience.”
You are absolutely right — I have no political experience. The current Members of Congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience. Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no elected office experience. What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God. They had a determination to rise up against a tyrannical King. They were willing to risk all they had, even their lives, to be free. Today we find ourselves with an entire class of politicians. No one in Philadelphia, during that summer our nation was born, dreamed that service was a career with a pension. America was the land of the Citizen Statesmen. They were merchants, lawyers, farmers — and yes, even doctors. They were willing to stand for freedom. Today, the political class stands in the way, not for the people. They demand pensions and perks. This is not what our Founders envisioned for America. I spent my life treating very ill children. Over 15,000 times I gave my all to prolong their lives. I was blessed to do it. But when it came time for me to retire, I simply could not sit back any longer. These children became my family. What our government is doing to them is outrageous. I am prepared to risk all that I have to try and make a difference in their future. I built one of the nation’s best medical centers. I served for two decades on the boards of Costco and Kellogg. I built a national scholarship program.
My experience is very different than what we have come to expect. I grew up poor. I know what it is like to be homeless and hungry. I know the pain of poverty. I also know that education and a mother’s love can be the path out of dire poverty. I know what it is like to see water fountains you are not allowed to drink out of because of your skin color. I also know that once you peal back the skin, the brain is the same no matter what your skin color or continent you live on. I know that victimhood is a trap. I know that it is our Christian responsibility to offer those less fortunate a hand up. I know my faith is strong and my ego is small.
I know that my path to the White House is different than most. But I also know I bring all of the pain and joy, the success and failure, the lessons learned through love and sorrow in my life’s journey. Bill Clinton was famous for saying “I feel your pain” — well, I have walked in your shoes.
I do not have political experience, I have a life journey. A journey that not only made it possible for me to relate to so many different people, but also one where time and time again I was told I would fail, only to succeed. My candidacy is different, that I grant you. I have neither Donald Trump’s money or Jeb Bush’s political network. However, I wouldn’t trade a single child I treated for all of Trump’s money. While I admire the Bush family’s dedication to service, I too served — nights, weekends, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries with severely injured patients were my public service.
I didn’t go to embassy cocktail parties or beg lobbyists for money. I spent night after night in a quiet, sterile room trying to save the life of a small child. That was my life’s service. This is my life’s experience. What I have is a lifetime of caring, integrity and honesty. I have experienced the American Dream. No where in the world, other than America, could a man whose ancestors were slaves, rise to become a leading brain surgeon and one day seek the Office of President.
The very fact that I am running is testament to the greatness of America. If all you want is political experience then I cannot be your candidate.
Thank you for staying up with me.