Washington (CNN)Likely Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson applauded the famous Baltimore woman who violently slapped her son for engaging with city police, telling CNN's Erin Burnett on Wednesday that the mom displayed a "wonderful example of parental responsibility."
Carson: Baltimore mom who hit son a 'wonderful example'
Carson, a Baltimore native, praised Toya Graham, who has appeared frequently on the nightly news and on Wednesday's cover of the New York Post after repeatedly hitting her son for protesting Baltimore police. Carson said she reminded him of his own mother.
"Parents, grandparents, guardians need to play a very active role in the lives of these children. That's what will mold the kind of adults that they become," said Carson. "I don't necessarily think violence is always the answer, but sometimes in a desperate situation, a mom needs to get her son out of that situation, feeling that he may be in a danger," he said.
Carson called for a new national focus on good parenting, arguing that could prevent violence.
Protests have erupted in Baltimore following the death of a young African-American man while he was in police custody.
Martin O'Malley, a likely Democratic presidential candidate and a former mayor of the city, returned from an international trip this week to survey the scene. Carson, who is planning an announcement in Detroit on Monday, spoke to CNN from his Florida home and said he didn't have any plans to return to his original hometown.
"I'm here. I can only be one place at one time," said the neurosurgeon and conservative author, who added he had spoken to local Baltimore television stations in the days following the violent protests.
"I'm not going to break commitments that I have elsewhere when I can easily get the information disseminated," he said.