Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz argued Sunday that fellow contender Ben Carson’s views against electing a Muslim president run contrary to the U.S. Constitution.
“You know, the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am Constitutionalist,” the Texas Republican said during the taping of “Iowa Press” at Iowa Public Television, The Des Moines Register reported.
Mr. Carson sparked the controversy Sunday by declaring on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would “not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”
The GOP candidate doubled down later that evening, telling The Hill that he does not believe Islamic law is consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
“Muslims feel their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution,” he said.
Fellow GOP candidate Lindsey Graham reacted to Mr. Carson’s remarks on Twitter by claiming the doctor “is not ready to be Commander-In-Chief. America is an idea, not owned by a particular religion.”
“[Mr. Carson] needs to apologize to American Muslims. He is a good doctor, but clearly not prepared to lead a great nation,” Mr. Graham added.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement Monday saying he was happy to “indulge the media for a moment and play their gotcha game” by responding to Mr. Carson, The Huffington Post reported.
“If you can find me a Muslim candidate who is a Republican, who will fight hard to protect religious liberty, who will respect the Judeo-Christian heritage of America, who will be committed to destroying [the Islamic State] and radical Islam, who will condemn cultures that treat women as second class citizens and who will place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution, then yes, I will be happy to consider voting for him or her,” the Republican said. “If you can’t, I’ll settle for voting for a Christian governor from Louisiana.”