Ben Carson said it'd be a mistake to elect a Muslim president on "Meet the Press" Sunday. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” he said. “I absolutely would not agree with that.” Carson, unlike Donald Trump, did say he believes President Obama is a Christian. “I believe he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says,” Carson said. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham has already called on Carson to apologize. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said lawmakers should repudiate Carson's comments and that the Constitution prohibits a religious test as a basis for qualifying for office.
Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, provided the following statement to the Daily Beast: "The freedom of religion is a founding principle of our nation. Our Constitution gives this right to all Americans - including elected officials. 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. 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.”
Carson's campaign defended the candidate's comments later in the day saying: "He has great respect for the Muslim community, but there is a huge gulf between the faith and practice of the Muslim faith, and our Constitution and American values," spokesman Doug Watts said. "That can be disputed. That can be debated. But there's pretty strong evidence to that effect."