JACKSON, Mich. — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson berated political correctness and the mainstream media for ignoring the context of the comments he made last week about the prospect of a Muslim president.
“If you listened to my comments last week, which a lot of people didn’t, before the question about Muslims was asked, I said anybody — and that includes any religion — who lives according to American values and principles and is willing to put our constitution above their religious ideology is acceptable to me,” Carson told reporters at a campaign stop in Jackson, Michigan. “The mainstream media heard those comments they chose to ignore those.”
The criticism stems from Carson’s interview with Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” Sunday, where the candidate said he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” (RELATED: Carson: Islam Is Not Consistent With The Constitution)
“Why in the world do we want to give away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?” the retired neurosurgeon said. “I think it would be the biggest mistake we ever made.”
“We have an American culture and we have an American constitution. And anybody who’s going to occupy our White House should be living in a pattern that is consistent with our constitution and with our culture,” Carson, who was accompanied by his wife Candy, said.
The event was hosted by the Jackson Republican Party at Under the Oaks Park, where the first official Republican Party meeting took place in July 6, 1854. Jackson is 78 miles west of Detroit, Carson’s hometown and where he announced his presidential bid in May.
Carson also discussed the Syrian refugee crisis, telling reporters it would be against common sense to admit refugees into the United States due to terrorist threats.
“I think virtually all of our problems can be solved by a little common sense,” the 2016 hopeful said. “And if you have a global Jihadist movement, and they want to destroy America and all of our values and they see a beautiful vehicle to infiltrate and bring their people in here, is it possible that we could have at least a modicum of intelligence and recognize that?”
To defeat ISIS, Carson said he would take back control of the Anbar province and use “every resource available” to destroy them.
“A strategy against them is to make them into losers. You know, for instance they control the Anbar, which is one of the largest energy fields in Iraq. One of the first things I would do is take that from them,” he said. “And I would take all the other territory from them and then they would look like losers. And I would use every resource available to us, not to contain them, but to eradicate them.”
“You need to recognize that ISIS wants to destroy us, they’re part of the global Jihad. And to ignore them or to act like they’re the JV, is not going to be an effective strategy.” Carson said. “They are continuing to grow, that have established their caliphate, they have half of Iraq. A third of Syria. They now have footholds in Somalia, in Nirgeria, in Tunesia. They are looking like winners. And as a result of that they’re able to recruit people — they’re even recruiting people from our nation.”
Carson later spoke to a largely evangelical crowd of 3,000 at Spring Arbor University, a college affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, where he criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage, spoke about fiscal responsibility, and knocked career politicians.
“I think he’s an honorable man and so common sense, that’s what brought me here,” Tish Skeen, a Jackson resident and longtime Carson fan, said, adding that the criticism he’s recently received is because “People don’t read what he said in context.” (RELATED: Ben Carson Doubles Down On Muslim In The White House Comments)