GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson says in an interview airing Sunday that he doesn't believe the United States should have a Muslim president because Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution.
"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," Carson said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I absolutely would not agree with that."
The comments came in response to the ongoing controversy over a questioner at a Donald Trump rally who claimed that Muslims in America were a "problem," that President Obama is a secret Muslim, and that there are terrorist training camps in the United States that need to be rooted out.
The wisdom of so publicly excluding an entire religion from the presidency aside, Carson has plenty of people who feel just like he does. A Gallup poll in June showed 38 percent of Americans said they would not support a Muslim candidate for president. The only less-desirable characteristics tested were being an atheist (40 percent) and a socialist (50 percent).
And the GOP is particularly sour on the idea of a Muslim president. While 60 percent overall and 73 percent of Democrats said they could vote for a Muslim, just 45 percent of Republicans said this. Only when it comes to a socialist candidate was there a bigger gap between the two parties.
There have been discussions in recent presidential elections about whether Americans would vote for a Mormon candidate (Mitt Romney), a woman (Hillary Clinton), an African American (Obama) and even a Jewish vice presidential candidate (Joe Lieberman in 2000). All are clearly more acceptable to Americans than would be a Muslim candidate.