Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said the United States should “absolutely” never elect a Muslim president during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” the retired neurosurgeon and only Black GOP presidential candidate told interviewer Chuck Todd. “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

His comments came after Republican front-runner Donald Trump drew criticism for failing to correct a questioner at a post-debate rally last week in Rochester, New Hampshire. The unidentified man said, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”

Since then, the real estate mogul has said it’s not his responsibility to defend the president. Furthermore, on Sunday, Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union that “radical Muslims” are a problem in the U.S, adding that some Americans believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders denounced the rhetoric, according to NBC News:

“For a long, long time in the history of America, there were people who would say, ‘you know, we don’t want a Catholic to be president of the United States.’ And then John F. Kennedy became president in 1960,” Sanders said. “And then people said, ‘oh, we don’t want a black guy, African American to be president of the United States,’ and then finally Barack Obama became president of the United States.”

He continued, “Look, you judge candidates for president not on their religion, not on the color of their skin, but on their ideas on what they stand for. That’s what democracy is supposed to be about. So I was very disappointed in Dr. Carson’s statement and I disagree with him.”

While we applaud Sanders for speaking out against the xenophobic rhetoric, fueling Islamophobia in this nation is dangerously irresponsible and both Carson and Trump need a serious reality check.

SOURCE: NBC News, NBC News | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel’s spirited debate over Ben Carson’s remarks in the video clip below.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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