The only black member of President Trump's cabinet has caused controversy after likening slaves taken to the US to "immigrants".
Housing Secretary Ben Carson was praising the work ethic of people moving to America.
— CNN (@CNN) March 6, 2017
"It's what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity.
"There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even harder for less, but they too had a dream."
But his comments have been condemned by civil rights campaigners as "offensive".
A tweet from Mr Carson's department said "No one honestly believes he equates voluntary immigration with involuntary servitude".
The tweet has since been deleted.
Statement from @HUDgov re: @SecretaryCarson: "No one honestly believes he equates #voluntary immigration with #involuntary servitude." pic.twitter.com/luvGoelOPy— Lynne Patton (HUD) (@LynnePattonHUD) March 6, 2017