Housing Secretary Ben Carson, held a press conference on Wednesday, July 31, in Baltimore, in an attempt to defuse the situation after President Trump called the city a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess.”

Carson is only too aware of the problems and stands by the president’s remarks. “You know, it’s sort of like if you have a patient who has cancer,” Carson said of Baltimore. “You can dress them up and put a nice suit on them, and you can try to ignore it. But that cancer is going to have a devastating effect. You have to be willing to address that issue if you’re ever going to solve it.”

US HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson delivers his message on the importance of education and housing at the NAACP National Fair Housing Month Forum, in Miami, on April 13, 2017. (Shutterstock)

His Baltimore visit comes just days after he appeared on Fox News to defend President Trump after he tweeted Baltimore was a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” adding, “No human being would want to live there.”

Carson who worked for decades as a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, said there are serious problems in the city, “where there were rats and roaches and mice and ticks, where there was just unabated lead problems that were having devastating effects on the mental development of young people, where there was mold—we had large numbers of people with asthma.”

Carson said Baltimore had received billions in federal funding, and the problem didn’t lie there. “We have some threats but it’s not China. It’s not Russia, it’s not North Korea. It’s us, and whether we can work together and realize we are not each other’s enemies,” Carson said, adding President Trump is “very willing to work with people here in Baltimore, including with Elijah Cummings.”

Cummings had been invited to the press conference, but because of “scheduling commitments” he couldn’t attend.

President Donald Trump talks with reporters before departing for an event to celebrate the 400th anniversary celebration of the first representative assembly at Jamestown, on the South Lawn of the White House, on July 30, 2019. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

“Baltimore is an example of what corrupt government leads to. Billions of dollars have been given, and I feel so sorry for the people of Baltimore,” said President Trump on Tuesday at the White House, as he told reporters, he is “the least racist person anywhere in the world.”

“I’ve received more phone calls than I think on any other subject of people from Baltimore and other cities corruptly run by Democrats, thanking me for getting involved,” he told reporters outside the White House.

“Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They’re largely African American,” President Trump added. “You have a large African American population, and they really appreciate what I’m doing. And they’ve let me know it.”

A devout Christian, Carson said, “Somehow, you know I guess that’s the way God works, I end up as the secretary of HUD, and we can actually deal with these issues.”