Retired neurosurgeon and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said he stands by his comments that he would not advocate electing a Muslim president of the United States, but that he’d be open to supporting a Muslim willing to reject certain tenets and put the U.S. Constitution above their religion.
“Absolutely, I stand by the comments,” Mr. Carson said on Monday evening’s “Hannity” program on Fox News. “What we have to do is recognize that this is America, and we have a Constitution, and we do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution.”
“So if, for instance, you believe in a theocracy, I don’t care if you’re a Christian,” he said. “If you’re a Christian and you’re running for president and you want to make us into a theocracy, I’m not going to support you; I’m not going to advocate you being the president.”
He said if someone with a Muslim background is willing to reject such “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 then I would be quite willing to support them.”
Asked if he would be open to a “moderate Muslim” who denounced Sharia law, radical Islamists and “the controversial life of Muhammad” running for president, Mr. Carson said: “Of course.”
“I prefaced that [comment] by saying I don’t care what religion or faith someone belongs to if they’re willing to subjugate that to the American way and to our Constitution, then I have no problem with that — that’s what I said before that,” he said.
Asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if someone’s faith should matter to voters, Mr. Carson said: “Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is.”
“If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter,” he said. “But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution — no problem.”
Asked if he thinks Islam is consistent with the Constitution, Mr. Carson said, “No, I do not.”
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Mr. Carson said.