Republicans need to condemn presidential candidate Ben Carson for saying Sunday that a Muslim should not be elected president, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.
In a speech from the Senate floor, the Nevada Democrat told the story of Kareem Khan, a decorated Muslim-American soldier buried in Arlington National Cemetery who died at age 20 in Iraq.
"But yesterday, I watched on 'Meet the Press' as a Republican candidate for president denigrated Kareem Khan and all Muslim-Americans," Reid said. "Ben Carson questioned Muslim-Americans' devotion to the United States. He questioned their integrity. And then Ben Carson unilaterally disqualified every Muslim-America from becoming president of the United States."
The almost 3 million Muslim-Americans in the United States are "part of the fabric of America," Reid said, serving as teachers, members of the military and members of Congress.
Reid said Republicans refuse to speak for Muslims in America, pointing not only to Carson's statement, but also to front-runner Donald Trump, who has been criticized for not repudiating a man in one of his meetings who called President Barack Obama a Muslim and called for the expulsion of Muslims from the country.
"If these Republican candidates are incapable of going to bat for America’s Muslim community, then they shouldn’t run for president of the United States," Reid said. "I call upon every Republican to denounce Ben Carson’s disgusting remarks. That shameful intolerance and bigotry should have no place in America today."
Two of Carson's rivals have spoken out against the statement, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham,
who said Carson is unfit to be president.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
said Carson's statement flies in the face of the Constitution, which prohibits a religious test for any public office.
Carson said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," that he would "not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that."
His campaign has said he has nothing to apologize for, and he told The Hill, "I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country." Sharia is Islamic religious law.
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