Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson would not support a Muslim as President of the United State, he said during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press on 20 September. The retired neurosurgeon-turned-politician added he did not believe Islam was compatible with the US Constitution.
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," he said. "I absolutely would not agree with that." NBC News reported Carson said that a president's faith should matter in an election depending on what that faith is.
"I guess it depends on what that faith is," Carson said. "If it's inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of American and consistent with the Constitution, no problem." The candidate added that he did not believe Islam is consistent with the Constitution.
According to CNN, Carson did acknowledge he was open to the idea of voting for a Muslim person to Congress. "Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just like it depends on what anybody else is," he said. "If there's somebody who is of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make is possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony, then I'm with them."
The GOP candidate's comments were made just days after Republican front-runner Donald Trump failed to correct a questioner at a New Hampshire town hall meeting who incorrectly referred to President Obama as a Muslim and "not even an American."
Carson, however, did argue against the man's claims, saying he has "no reason to doubt" that Obama was born in the US and is not Muslim.
Minnesota Democratic Representative Keith Ellison, a Muslim Congressman from Minnesota, was not happy with Carson's comments or Trump's failure to correct an anti-Muslim comment from a supporter.
"For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people," Ellison said in a statement, according to CNN. "It's unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry."