The retired neurosurgeon and GOP front-runner is attempting to send a clear message to his supporters: Nazi Germany can happen in America.
“I’ve talked in the past about how the people in Nazi Germany did not agree with Hitler. A lot of them didn’t. But did they stand up? Did they say anything? No, they kept their mouths shut and look at the atrocities that occurred,” Carson said, speaking at Berean Baptist Church in North Carolina on Wednesday. "And some people think something like that can’t happen here but think again. Look at the world and all those examples of tyranny, it can happen here.”
He continued: “I mean if people don’t speak up for what they believe, then other people will change things without them having a voice. That’s what I mean. That’s what facilitated [Hitler’s] rise."
Carson's campaign acknowledges the political perils associated with speaking of Nazi Germany and Hitler, and concedes that Carson should probably find a better example to make the same point.
"It's an example [Carson] has been using for years and to be honest with you he needs to find a better example because the problem is as soon as you say Hitler, nobody hears anything else you say,” Campaign Manager Barry Bennett told ABC News. "Its just so evil, so contemptible, that no one can hear anything else.”
Bennett said that Carson is not really talking about Hitler or the Holocaust but rather “talking about how a general population kept their mouth shut.”
“The example is too powerful perhaps,” Bennett said referring to Carson’s rhetoric. "I think that he will find other ways to say the exact same thing."
Carson himself acknowledged yesterday that he probably shouldn’t draw the comparison between Nazi Germany, but did so nonetheless.
"You know I think back to Nazi Germany — and I know the politically correct police say you are not allowed to say Nazi Germany but I am going to say it anyway because I don’t care what they say,” Carson told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday. "And some people say 'Oh nothing like that could happen in America.' I beg to differ."
Carson emphasized that he was not comparing President Obama to Hitler.