OTR Interviews

Carson: Pres. Obama's comments on the Crusades at National Prayer Breakfast 'absolutely irrelevant'

Potential 2016 presidential candidate on president's remarks on terrorism, Christians and the Crusades at the National Prayer Breakfast


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Remember when Dr. Ben Carson made headlines at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013? He stunned the crowd. So what did he think this year when President Obama compared medieval Christian crusaders to ISIS's ruthless terror tactics of beheading and burning people alive?


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You see, ISIS is a brutal vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, terrorizing religious minorities like the Yazidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantel of religious authority for such actions.

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us, Dr. Ben Carson.

Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think the president made that comparison between ISIS and medieval times, the Christian crusades? Why do you think he did that?

CARSON: Well, it certainly gives us some insight into his thinking. Obviously, any atrocities that are committed in the name of religion at any time in history are horrible. And none should be used to justify what is going on today.

I believe is he attempting to say that these people are no worse than other people have been in the past. That is absolutely irrelevant. Because we are dealing with an evil in today's world, that is threatening Christians and people who don't believe like they do. And if we allow it to continue to grow, it will be a big tree with lots of branches and roots, rather than a bush as it is now.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you look -- I don't mean to jump on the bandwagon. President Obama has now alienated the Christians with this, deeply alienated them. He has a very chilly or frosty relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israelis, maybe not all Israelis. You got the fact that he won't say "radical Islam." Naturally that is a recipe for disaster. And I can't figure out why he has put himself in that position where he is now dealing with all this on every front.

CARSON: It's interesting because over the years we have had a number of interests where people protested against war. He may be the first president to have people protesting against his lack of adequate response, recognizing that in the long run this will endanger not only us but the entire world. Having a leader who doesn't seem to understand what a basic school child might understand is somewhat worrisome.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would you do?

CARSON: Well, I would use every resource that we have to eradicate the threat while it is still in its adolescent stage. That means using banking facilities, using every military apparatus that we have, recognizing where their source of income comes from and trying to shut that off, that might include oil. We need to use every resource to eradicate them now before they get too big to eradicate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me ask you, I read over the weekend that you keep getting hit with the question, so let me join in the chorus. Your thoughts about 2016? First of all, why would you want the job? I mean, you know, it's a tough job and, anyway, pretty thankless. Why would you want it?

CARSON: Well, I don't know that anybody would really want it, but the reason I would be willing it to do it is because I recognize that our country is at a crossroads. And we're in the process of forgetting who we are and why we were created. This is supposed to be a country for of and by the people where the government conforms to the will of the people. We have turned that completely around. My whole life has been dedicated to giving life and improving life. I thought I was going to retire and enjoy life. I can't enjoy it watching what's happening to my country.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is happening? Describe to me and tell me what you think is happening.

CARSON: Well, I think that we're losing our freedoms. We are losing our understanding of what freedom actually is. We are constrained by political correctness. We have intolerance, particularly on the left. Anybody who doesn't agree with them, they feel free to demonize them and to destroy them in any way. This is not the America that I grew up with, and certainly wasn't the one that was planned.

We are also throwing away our values, our beliefs, again, for the sake of political correctness. We are a unique country. We don't have to be like everybody else. If people want to be here, they need to conform to us. We don't need to conform to everybody else. That's what made us a great nation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Carson, always nice to see you. Thank you, sir. Hope you come back.

CARSON: You, too, Greta. Thank you.