GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson argued over the weekend that Syrians would rather stay in refugee camps than be resettled in other countries if the United State could take the money it spent on Halloween candy and use it to provide more international aid.
During a visit to Jordan, Carson explained to several Sunday morning shows that refugees who fled Syria wanted to return to their country instead of coming to the United States.
“They said the United States and other countries could be much more supportive of the Herculean efforts manifested by the Jordanians in taking in people at a lot of expense to themselves,” Carson explained. “They cannot continue that without help from the international community.”
“You know, you look at last month,” he continued. “We spent $3 billion on Halloween candy. That’s the amount of money needed to bridge the shortfall for a year that they’re having in Jordan with the refugees.”
ABC host Martha Raddatz reminded Carson the U.S. had already spent $4 billion in humanitarian aid.
“So what more can they be doing?” she wondered.
“You have to go there and see for yourself,” Carson recommended.
“I actually have been to the refugee camps,” Raddatz revealed. “They want to go back to Syria — which doesn’t look possible — or they want to go somewhere else. They want jobs. Do you welcome them into America now?”
Carson, however, insisted that “it would be a completely different story” if the refugee camps had “adequate support.”
“The people I talked to don’t want to stay there,” Raddatz insisted.
Speaking to Face the Nation on Sunday, Carson reused the Halloween candy talking point.
“The reason that the camps are not full is they are not supported by the international community,” the candidate opined.
“Your assessment visiting there is that Jordan can take all the refugees?” CBS host John Dickerson asked.
“When I looked at the refugee camps in Jordan, there’s about a $3 billion shortfall annually,” Carson remarked. “That’s how much money we spent last year on Halloween candy.”
Dickerson pressed: “So, make the link between Halloween and the refugees for me? Are you talking about a national fundraising drive?”
“I’m talking about in terms of the amount of money that it would take,” Carson replied. “My point in comparing it to Halloween candy is to say that this is not a big deal.”
Carson is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church which frowns on Halloween.
“The church’s opposition to the occult and the demonic preclude any support for this type of festival,” Seventh Day Adventist pastor Gerhard Pfandl noted in a column for Perspective Digest. “Participation in Halloween customs may seem innocent fun for children and adults, but it is one more way Satan can use to deceive people into thinking there is no harm in playing a little bit with the world of spirits and demons.”
Watch the video below compiled from ABC’s This Week and CBS’ Meet the Press, broadcast Nov. 29, 2015.