Dr. Ben Carson has pivoted from apologizing "if anybody was offended" by his anti-gay comments to attacking his critics, some of whom he says are "racist[s]" who are trying to smear him as a bigot in order to silence him.
Carson, who has been lauded by the conservative media and treated to dozens of Fox News appearances over the past few months, lashed out at his critics during an April 1 interview on The Mark Levin Show.
The noted surgeon and Johns Hopkins University neurosurgery professor has been subject to harsh criticism, including from students and staff at Johns Hopkins Medical School, since he compared gays who support marriage equality to pedophiles and practitioners of bestiality during a March 27 interview on Fox News' Hannity.
During that appearance, Carson said, "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition. So, it's not something against gays. It's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications."
Carson had previously written in his 2012 book that marriage equality could destroy America like the "fall of the Roman Empire."
After LGBT medical students called for Carson's replacement as the commencement speaker for the class of 2013, he attempted to claim that he hadn't been "equating" gays with pedophiles or those who engage in bestiality, while apologizing "if anybody was offended." He also said he would be willing to step down as commencement speaker.
But on Levin's show, Carson went on the offensive, saying that the criticism he has received proves that he's right that "political correctness is threatening to destroy our nation because it puts a muzzle over honest conversation." He added that "the attacks against me have been so vicious because I represent an existential threat" to his critics, who he says "take my words, misinterpret them, and try to make it seem that I'm a bigot."
After Levin claimed that Carson has been "attacked also, in many respects, because of your race" because "a lot of white liberals" don't like black conservatives, Carson replied, "Well, they're the most racist people there are. Because you know, they put you in a little category, a little box, 'you have to think this way, how could you dare come off the plantation?'"
Carson's accusation echoes Rush Limbaugh, who said that Carson's experience shows that if minorities "dare stray from the Democrat Party plantation," they will "pay the price for that." Fox News' Megyn Kelly has also rallied to Carson's defense. Meanwhile, right-wing media figures like Fox's Eric Bolling and the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis have criticized conservatives for pushing Carson as the savior of the GOP so quickly.