During a Meet the Press interview, Ben Carson says he “would not advocate” a Muslim American president.
In a presidential campaign that has been fraught with numerous gaffes, grandstanding, polls, three-hour debates full of Republicans all jockeying to go after billionaire real estate tycoon/reality television personality Donald Trump, many of the Republican presidential candidates have said or done things that seemed to appeal to the harshest and baser instincts of…well, their base.
Ben Carson, famous pediatric neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor, has done surprisingly well in the polls based on the fact that he has never held public office, and has risen in the ranks of Republican discussion ever since his memorable lashing out at President Obama and his policies during a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in early 2014. Carson was recently ranked second in many national and statewide polls for the Republican nominations before the most recent GOP debate at the Reagan Library. Since that debate, newcomer to the main stage Carly Fiorina has skyrocketed to second place. However, Carson is still holding strong. For now.
Over this last weekend, Carson was being interviewed on NBC’s Meet The Press when he was asked if a candidate’s personal religious beliefs mattered. Carson stated that he believed if their faith was in line with the Constitution, then it did not matter. Host Chuck Todd pressed Carson one step further, and asked Dr. Carson if he believed that Islam was in line with the Constitution, to which Carson replied that he did not, and then went on to say that America should not have a Muslim president, or more precisely, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 21, 2015
I'm fine with what Donald Trump & Ben Carson both said about Muslims. They have the cajones to speak out.
— carold501 (@carold501) September 21, 2015
Carson’s comments drew outrage from all sides of the political spectrum, as well as on social media, and in many news and commentary television programs. Many of the responses called for a public apology from Dr. Carson, or at least an admission that he was incorrect in his statement.
However, one group in particular did not go so easy on Carson and his presidential aspirations. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for Carson’s withdrawal from the presidential race altogether, because, as Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director stated, “…he is unfit to lead because his views are in contradiction with the U.S. Constitution,” ABC News reported.
CAIR, an organization committed to spreading goodwill and Muslim awareness across the United States, which has a population of around 2.5 million people. In addition to calling for Dr. Ben Carson’s withdrawal from seeking the Republican presidential nomination, CAIR has said they’ve since reached out to Carson following his comments, with the hopes of spreading a larger discussion. CAIR has allegedly invited Carson to meet with its leaders, and, “Carson’s campaign said Sunday it has reached out to the group and is willing to have conversations with CAIR leaders.”
With the 2016 presidential election still over a year away, one can be sure that the gaffes and future regrettable comments made by candidates is hardly over.