The White House on Monday denounced Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson for saying a Muslim should not be president of the United States.
Press secretary Josh Earnest said Carson’s comments are “entirely inconsistent with the Constitution" and the First Amendment.
Earnest predicted that Republicans would pay the price at the ballot box if the party’s presidential candidates continue to “countenance offensive views all in pursuit of political support.”
“Ultimately, there will be consequences, and those views will be taken into account by voters, not only in the primary, but also the general election,” Earnest told reporters.
Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this weekend that a Muslim should not be elected president because Sharia law conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.
Earnest claimed other GOP candidates have refrained condemning Carson’s “offensive” statements because they are vying for the same votes.
“It is particularly disappointing to many observers … that we haven’t seen a significant outcry from other candidates in the Republican race,” he said.
Several of Carson’s rivals have rebuked him over the remarks. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.) said the remarks are evidence that Carson is “not ready to be commander in chief,” while Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' Paul, Cruz fire back after Fauci says criticism of him is 'dangerous' No deal in sight as Congress nears debt limit deadline MORE (R-Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo On The Money — Biden stresses calm amid omicron fears MORE (R-Texas) noted that the Constitution explicitly rules out a religious test for office.
Carson’s comments drew the ire of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a prominent Muslim advocacy group, which called on the candidate to withdraw from the race.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE said Muslims are eligible to be president and those claiming otherwise need to “move on.”