GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Speaking at the Heritage Action’s Take Back America presidential forum in Greenville, South Carolina, on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson defended comments he made on Meet the Press that Americans should never elect a Muslim as president, decried comments made by the leader of a Muslim group, and said he will request the FBI investigate the group.
On Meet the Press that aired on Sunday, Mr. Carson said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”
Sunday afternoon, Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates in 2014, said in a press release that the comment disqualifies Mr. Carson for the presidency because it shows the retired neurosurgeon “woefully lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the American Constitution.”
Mr. Carson told the audience of conservative attendees here in Greenville he had been aware for a long time that “they’re a foreign terrorist group with jihadist intentions.”
“What we’re trying to figure out is why they’re meddling in our campaign and what they’re up to because we don’t allow or need foreigners in our politics, of course, with the exception of our most-trusted ally Israel,” he said.
Mr. Carson said that tomorrow his campaign will launch a formal request that the FBI investigate the group “to see who’s representing them here in America.”
“What we want to know is why they attacked me. And we’ll be asking the FBI also to let the president know that he should call off his people,” the Seventh-day Adventist Church member said.
And we’ll be asking the FBI also to let the president know that he should call off his people.
On Sunday evening, several national media outlets reported that Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), a member of the Nation of Islam and one of only two Muslim congressional representatives, also issued a statement repudiating the comments Mr. Carson made on Meet the Press.
Calls to Mr. Ellison’s office to inquire if he had any connection to the Council on American-Islamic Relations were not returned.
Holleran N. Yellen II covers all dynamics of the 2016 presidential campaign.