GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson on Monday night said he was referring to Muslim candidates who would form a theocracy when he said on Sunday he wouldn't support a Muslim as president.
Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Hannity,"
Carson said he stands by his comments, but added that he also wouldn't support a Christian who wanted to impose a theocracy.
"We do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution," Carson said. "So if, for instance, you believe in a theocracy, I don't care 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."
If someone with a Muslim background is willing to reject the tenants of Islam that oppose the Constitution, Carson said, "I would then be quite willing to support them."
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," Carson said Sunday
on NBC's "Meet the Press."
In an interview with The Hill later that day, Carson added, "I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country. Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that's inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution."
On Monday, host Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Carson if he had meant to say "radical Muslim" in his original statement.
Carson said 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."
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who also is seeking the GOP nomination, on Sunday called Carson unfit to serve as commander-in-chief. Another rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz noted that the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow for a religious test for public office seekers.
The Council on American-Muslim Relations (CAIR) called on Carson to quit the race.
But Carson's campaign said it has gotten more campaign donations and 100,000 new Facebook friends in the wake of his original statements.
"While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20," Carson's campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press on Monday. "People in Iowa particularly, are like, 'Yeah! We're not going to vote for a Muslim either. I don't mind the hubbub. It's not hurting us, that's for sure."
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