Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Opposing a Muslim president makes Ben Carson a 'real person'
Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade (screen grab)

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Monday defended Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson after he came under fire for saying that a Muslim should not be president of the United States.

Speaking to NBC's Chuck Todd over the weekend, Carson had said that he would "absolutely would not agree" with electing someone who practiced Islam.

Carson's campaign then doubled down after he came under fire from Muslim groups and other GOP presidential candidates called for him to apologize.

“He just doesn’t believe the American people are ready for that,” campaign spokesperson Doug Watts insisted on Sunday.

On Monday, Fox News hosts Brian Kilmeade and Elisabeth Hasselbeck argued that Todd had asked Carson the "ultimate gotcha question."

"They were debating whether a Muslim should be a president back in the creation of our country," Kilmeade opined. "There's a whole book written on it. Back when you had Jefferson and Madison debating other great American founders about should a Jewish person be president? Should a Muslim person be president?"

"You can have that discussion and not be labeled a racist, or a Zionist, or anything else. This is an open dialog," he continued. "Why is everyone calling on everyone to apologize? It's an ultimate gotcha moment. You have 16 people in the race and everyone's just waiting on eggshells."

"Who is real?" Hasselbeck agreed. "Whose the real person?"

"Yeah," Kilmeade agreed. "Can he just give an honest answer? And now there's going to be a fourth clarification."

"That's how he feels -- he would not vote for a Muslim," the host added. "It doesn't mean they should not run. It doesn't mean the rest of America can't vote for a Muslim."

Update: In a tweet on Monday, Hasselbeck said that she had made the "real person" comments about Hillary Clinton, not Ben Carson. However, she never mentioned Clinton's name during the Carson discussion.

Watch the video below from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Sept. 21, 2015.

(h/t: Media Matters)