Gage Skidmore / Flickr Ben Carson...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Trump’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, has been MIA over the past couple of months. This is notable for two reasons: He’s in the Trump administration, and the department he heads seems to be falling to pieces around him. ThinkProgress has uncovered a very interesting image of Mr. Carson from way back in 2014.

According to ThinkProgress’s Casey Michel, the image shows Carson “alongside a key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.” The man in question is Alexey Komov, known to have a very close relationship with Malofeev. Malofeev is known for a supportive relationship over the years with Vladimir Putin that has generated much speculation as to his role in bankrolling and executing behind-the-scenes moves for the Russian president.

Michel reports that the image comes from a keynote appearance by Carson at a gala for the National Organization of Marriage. NOM is known for being incredible homophobic and also disturbingly nefarious in its divisive strategies against gay rights. And it’s the bigotry against the LGBTQ community that has Komov bonding with Carson. According to scholar and ex-evangelical Chris Stroop, Carson and Komov chatting it up isn’t surprising. Stroop told Michel that people like Ben Carson are “precisely the type of radical right-wing Christian with which Komov is frequently able to cultivate comfortable relationships.”

It’s not evidence of anything treasonous, of course. But it does show how right-wing circles in our country, such as evangelicals and NRA maniacs, are so very easily marked by oligarchs and dictators. Religious-liberty hypocrites probably look longingly at the hate-filled anti-LGBTQ laws that Russia has passed under Putin. Maybe it’s something about right-wing ideologies?

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