Likely Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Thursday evening that it was “immature and stupid” for the Democratic-led Senate Intelligence Committee to make public a report this week detailing CIA interrogation methods during George W. Bush’s presidency.
“Putting out this report at a time when we’re in a war with ISIS is the height of absurdity,” Carson said during a tele-forum with supporters on Thursday night. “Because all it does is provide the enemy with a wonderful recruiting tool.”
The report, which Republicans have strongly contested, specifically details how the CIA used interrogation techniques, like water-boarding, on detainees.
“The tools that we use to fight war really should be not up for public discussion,” Carson, a former neurosurgeon, said. “And many of those tools should be covert things. And we don’t need to be broadcasting everything we’re doing. That is just so immature and stupid.”
As he prepares for a likely run for the White House in 2016, Carson answered questions about a myriad of issues from dozens of callers. Several participants told the political novice they would support him if he runs for president in 2016, something Carson acknowledges he is preparing for.
Asked his thoughts on education, Carson told one questioner: “I don’t think that things like Common Core are the way to go.”
Asked about illegal immigration, he said: “As far those that are here already, you have to recognize that they got here on their own, and they can certainly leave here on their own. If you make it illegal to hire someone who is illegal and make it a criminal act, I think you won’t see a lot of that going on.”
Asked about recent events in Ferguson, Mo., he said: “We can never have an honest conversation as long as people back themselves into their respective corners and throw hand grenades at each other. So I think that people, particularly in the minority communities, are going to have to admit that thuggish behavior is thuggish behavior. Don’t canonize these people and try to make them into saints. Because they’re not. And I think the police… Are there some bad apples? Of course. There are bad apples in everything…But the vast, vast majority are not and they need our support.”
Asked about areas of government he’d like to do away with, he said: “I’d like to see the IRS eliminated. That means we have to reform and vastly simplify and make fair the tax code.”
Asked about the inevitable criticism that he doesn’t have enough political experience to run for president, he said: “I would simply say to them: ‘How much experience did Joe Biden have?’ A lot. Think he would make a great president?”
Asked about studying up on issues ahead of a presidential run, he said: “Yes, we indeed have a number of people we’ve been consulting to get up to speed in a variety of different areas. And I actually find it kind of fun. I don’t have to learn nearly as much as I had to learn for neurosurgery.”