Ben Carson‘s rise in the polls over his rivals in vying for the Republican Party‘s presidential nomination has been astounding despite what some might call some very public missteps. The neurosurgeon is still navigating around his questionable remarks over Muslims and Islam, yet he reserved kind words for Kanye West‘s presidential hopes as well.
Carson was a guest on ABC’s This Week program over the weekend with host Martha Raddatz, who challenged the doctor over his statements. Carson expertly dodged the meat of the question and instead gave a politician’s answer to Raddatz’s inquiry over his comments about Muslims.
From This Week:
RADDATZ: I want to go back to your controversial comments on the possibility of a Muslim president. The question seemed quite clear. The question was: Should a president’s faith matter? You said, I guess it depends on what that faith is. The question was: So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution, and you 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.
Do you stand by that now?
CARSON: Well, first of all, you know, what I said is on a transcript and it’s there for anybody.
RADDATZ: I’m reading the transcript, Dr. Carson, that’s exactly what you said.
CARSON: No — read the paragraph before that where I said anybody, doesn’t matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution. I have no problem with them.
Why do you guys always leave that part out, I wonder?
RADDATZ: I don’t think we do, Dr. Carson, and it really was quite clear: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” You also talked about sharia law, that they must denounce sharia law. You assume that all Muslims embrace sharia law?
CARSON: Well, let’s — what we should be talking about is Islam and the tenets of Islam and where do they come from? They come from sharia. They come the Koran. They come from, you know, the life works and examples of Muhammad. They come from the fatwas, which is the writings of scholars.
You know, and if you go back and you look at — what I would like for somebody to show me is an improved Islamic text that opposes sharia. Let me see — if you can show me that, I will begin to alter my thinking on this. But right now, when you have something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution, why in fact would you take that chance?
Although the exchange was testy, Carson recovered when he got around to answering Raddatz’s questions about West, his praise of the presidential hopeful, and his proposed 2020 campaign for the White House.
“Well, I’m certainly willing to give him a chance. We’ll see. He’ll be able to explain things and we’ll see if he resonates with the people,” answered Carson.
Watch Dr. Ben Carson on ABC’s This Week in the clip below.