Dr. Ben CarsonScreen Shot 2015-09-23 at 3.48.07 PM

What was the accusation?

Republican presidential hopeful, Dr. Ben Carson, argued in an interview on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd that he would not advocate for a Muslim to be President of the United States because the tenets of Islam are inconsistent with the U.S. constitution.  Carson would later clarify his remarks on Hannity by indicating that he could support a Muslim who rejected the basic tenets of his/her religion.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Denial, Differentiation

Video of Carson’s Interview with Sean Hannity

Transcript of Carson’s Interview with Sean Hannity

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let’s talk about the interview and what you said specifically about a Muslim president. Do you stand by the comments?

BEN CARSON: Absolutely, I stand by the comments. You know, what we have to do is we have to 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, if you’re a Christian and you’re running for president and you want to make this into a theocracy, I’m not going to support you. I’m not going to advocate you being the president.

HANNITY: I spoke with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser today, he’s a moderate Muslim, and I asked if he could name a single Muslims country that treats women the way we treat women, or minorities the way we treat minorities in this country. He couldn’t name a single one. Was that what you were thinking in your mind when you were answering the question, in other words, the way Muslim theocracies currently operate?

CARSON: That’s correct. I mean, they currently do not tend to operate the same way that our system does. Now, if someone has a Muslim background and they’re willing to reject those 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 I would then be quite willing to support them.

HANNITY: All right, so what I hear in your statement there is you kind of are tempering those remarks. For example, if there was a moderate Muslim that denounced Sharia, that denounced radical Islamists, that denounced quotes in the Koran about killing the infidels or not taking Christians and Jews for your friends, that denounced the controversial life of Mohammed, you would be open to that Muslim running for president?

CARSON: Of course.

HANNITY: OK. But, well, then so basically the controversy is over in that sense. Did you mean to say radical Islamist or one that supports a form of government as is practiced in Muslim countries, is that more what you meant to say?

CARSON: Well, you know, that was implied in the comment, because I prefaced that 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 it. That’s what I said before that.


Bradner, E. (2015, September 27). Ben Carson again explains concerns with a Muslim president. CNN. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/27/politics/ben-carson-muslim-president-sharia-law/index.html

Gass, N. (2015, September 20). Ben Carson: America’s president can’t be Muslim. Politico. Retrieved from: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/ben-carson-muslim-president-213851

Rhodan, M. (2015, September 21). Ben Carson’s Campaign Defends Muslim President Remarks. Time. Retrieved from: http://time.com/4042347/ben-carson-muslim-president-defense/