Shermichael Singleton was the top aide for Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary nominee. But Singleton, a 26-year-old conservative Republican, lost his job assenior advisor at HUDlast week for criticizing President Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the Black community during his presidential campaign.
During his vetting process to work with the Trump administration,an op-ed Singleton wrote for The Hill surfaced andhe was fired. Singleton was escorted out of the department’s headquarters on February 15.He had held the position since January 23.
In an interview Tuesday on “CNN Tonight,” Singleton told host Don Lemon that he does not take the firing personally and it has “nothing to do with race,” but he was disappointed.
“I was disappointed, and perhaps even briefly angry. You learn quickly in politics that anger is like a cancer; you can’t let it consume you too fast.
“Disappointment lingered for a little bit, then I said, ‘Okay, look, you can either be upset about this and do nothing or be a grown-up and say it’s okay. You’re American; there are still things you can do to continue to help the administration move forward.'”
Singleton’s opinion piece, “A Republican asks: Aren’t we morally obliged to stand up to Trump” published October 24, said, in part:
“As an African American, like so many of my peers, I am concerned about police brutality, the lack of economic and educational opportunities for our urban cities, and the complete disregard for criminal justice reform.
“Hearing the nominee of my party ignore these harsh truths and opt for words like ‘law and order’ sounds like a coded message from an era in our history that should stay in the past.”
He also said Trump’s references about the Black community were mostly negative:
“Donald Trump portrays our inner cities as if they are the ailments of American society and should be exterminated and swiftly removed.
“He never mentions the many hardworking, good and honest people who are simply trying the best they can to achieve their share of the American dream.
“But I guess that’s impossible to do when you don’t even bother to effectively target and outreach to diverse groups.”
He also said Trump has a lack of Republican values.
“My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,” he wrote.
Social media users, including the NAACP, corrected Trump’s response to a question asked at the second presidential debate.
Carson was “baffled” and “speechless” that Singleton was fired, sources toldBuzzFeed. He allegedly had no knowledge that his aide was going to be let go because of his op-ed.
In Tuesday’s interview, Lemon asked Singleton if he still had the same sentiments expressed in his opinion piece.
“When presented with new information, your opinion can change,”Singleton said. “For example, today the president visited the African American history museum with Dr. Carson. To me, that is a step in the right direction.
“For me personally I believe visiting the museum, learning more about the culture, about the history, about the things African Americans have gone through, you would hope when the president is in this time of reflection he learns more about the critiques that were remedied toward him by people of the community.”
Lemon mentioned that Trump visiting the museum is something that all presidents would do. He then asked Singleton if there is someone within the Trump administration to advise the president on issues of concern within the Black community.
HUD employee fired for criticizing Trump defends administration’s outreach to African Americans https://t.co/fdPffRacNu
CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) February 22, 2017
“This particular president, and as a candidate, has been tone deaf when it comes to issues that face the African American community,” Lemon said.
Singleton responded, “The fact that the president is making efforts, you have to give credit for efforts. Because he could decide not to do anything at all.”
He said the president’s efforts include visiting the museum and focusing on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In regard to his firing, Lemon asked Singleton if he should be allowed to state his case to “be in there making a difference for African Americans rather than the administration just saying, ‘You’re fired'”
Singleton responded, “I have great deference for the office of the president. That is a decision the president has to make. I, Shermichael Singleton, cannot speak on behalf of the president.”
He continued, “I think there are African Americans on the outside that are not within the administration that will offer the necessary critiques and commentary at the appropriate time in hopes with assisting the president and his administration with having a better understanding of the issues many African Americans face in this country.”