Many people, including politicians, pundits and the press, thought Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson made a huge gaffe when he told NBC News’ Chuck Todd Sunday that he couldn’t support a Muslim in the White House.
But it turns out it wasn’t a gaffe after all — America seems to agree with him.
During an interview on “Meet the Press,” Todd asked if a candidate’s religious faith should come into play when choosing a presidential candidate.
“I guess it depends on what that faith is,” Carson responded. “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.”
Todd followed by asking point blank, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”
“No, I don’t, I do not,” Carson said. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Since making the statement, Carson’s been given plenty of opportunity to retract what he’d said — but he hasn’t.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations figuratively called for his head on a platter.
“We call on our nation’s political leaders – across the political spectrum – to repudiate these unconstitutional and un-American statements and for Mr. Carson to withdraw from the presidential race,” CAIR’s National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement.
In an appearance Monday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Carson said he would make allowances for a Muslim president under certain circumstances.
“Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion, then, of course, they will be considered infidels and heretics, but at least I would then be quite willing to support them,’ he told host Sean Hannity.
So was his statement a mistake? Possibly not. The New York Post reported:
A Gallup poll released in June found that 38 percent of American voters would not vote for a well-qualified Muslim presidential nominee from their own party — a view shared by 54 percent of Republicans surveyed, 39 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats.
And his campaign reportedly added 100,000 new Facebook friends and campaign coffers have been filling after his comments on “Meet the Press.”
“The money has been coming in so fast, it’s hard to even keep up with it,” Carson said Wednesday on Fox News Channel.
“While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20,’’ Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press. “People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,’” he said, the Post reported..
Maybe he managed to latch on to something that American voters — whether they want to admit it or not — can agree with.
Here’s the interview, via NBC News, that set the ball in motion.
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