Earnest 'speechless' at Carson's claims of China involvement in Syria
© Getty Images
White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Friday described himself as “speechless” at Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson’s offer to present intelligence showing Chinese involvement in Syria. 
 
"Maybe it violates my job description as a spokesman to be speechless, but in this case I am,” Earnest told reporters. 
 
It was the latest salvo in the war of words between the White House and Carson over the candidate’s claims about the conflict in Syria.  
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Carson said at Tuesday’s Republican primary debate that China is involved in the conflict there, which the White House dismissed Thursday as false. 
 
National Security Adviser Susan Rice told reporters that she has “not seen any evidence of Chinese military involvement in Syria.” 
 
The retired neurosurgeon’s claims have raised questions from critics about whether the first-time political candidate has the foreign policy experience to serve as commander in chief.
 
Speaking to reporters in South Carolina Friday, Carson was asked if he wanted to take back his comments.
 
"I have several sources that I've gotten material from," he replied. "I'm surprised that my material is better than theirs," he said challenging the administration's position.
 
Carson indicated he would share the intelligence publicly and with the White House.
 
"They will have an opportunity to see the materials just as everybody else," Carson said.
 
Earlier Friday, Carson’s campaign attempted to clarify his recent comments about Chinese involvement in Syria, stressing that Beijing is providing material support after facing skepticism for implying it had forces on the ground.
 
A campaign memo, citing online media reports and academic research, claimed that China has “regularly sold missiles, missile technology and missile components to Syria, despite U.S. objections."