Donald Trump’s housing secretary has been roundly criticised for an inaugural speech to staff in which he equated slaves with immigrants chasing the “American dream”.
Ben Carson was confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week.
On Monday, he spoke of America as a “land of dreams and opportunities” that has drawn millions of people from overseas throughout its history.
“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” he said. “But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
The comments of Mr Carson met with derision on social media.
Actor Samuel L Jackson led the condemnation. “Immigrants? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!!” he wrote on Twitter.