MSNBC host Rachel Maddow ripped Ben Carson on Thursday after the Republican presidential candidate doubled down on another dubious foreign policy claim.
“On the one level, this is kind of funny,” she said. “This sort of thing may happen on both sides of the aisle; I only know of it happening recently on the Republican side of the aisle, where in the wake of the Bush-Cheney administration, foreign policy chops have not exactly been highly developed. It has not exactly been an in-demand part of the Republican Party’s wheelhouse.”
But what was troubling her, she said, was that Republicans like Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and now Carson don’t suffer any consequences for their unsubstantiated arguments.
“On one level, that is hilarious. At another level, it is unnerving to hear it from somebody who really might be the Republican Party’s nominee for president of the United States at a time when our country’s military is involved in a whole lot of actual war,” Maddow argued.
The former neurosurgeon first claimed to have his own intelligence sources last month, when he claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had gotten to know Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas and Ali Khamenei, who is the supreme leader of Iran, during their university days.
Carson said at the time that he had received this little-known bit of information from unidentified “advisors,” some of whom were in the CIA.
“That’s what I call wisdom,” he said. “You get these pieces of information. You talk to various people. You begin to have an overall picture. You begin to understand why people do what they do.”
During Tuesday’s Republican candidate debate, Carson went so far as to say that China had a military presence in Syria, and his business manager Armstrong Williams claimed that he got that information from “people who are on the ground and are involved in that region of the world.”
Carson’s argument was promptly shot down by President Barack Obama’s administration — with the slightest hint of a smile, Maddow said.
“Why would the White House and President Obama and President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, have access to the kind of high-level secret on the ground intelligence Ben Carson has access to?” she asked sarcastically.
Watch Maddow’s commentary, as aired on Thursday, below.