Charles Krauthammer: GOP presidential candidates' bigotry is "sincerely felt" but "it remains morally outrageous"

The combative conservative attacked Ben Carson, in particular, for endorsing religious litmus tests

Scott Eric Kaufman
September 25, 2015 6:20PM (UTC)

Weekly Standard contributing editor and frequent Fox News guest Charles Krauthammer published an editorial Friday in which he chided the Republican field of presidential candidates for being so weak they can't even defeat the "godsend" of Democratic candidates they'll be pitted against.

Up to this point, he wrote, the GOP campaigns have been a "festival of ad hominems interrupted only by spectacular attempts to alienate major parts of the citizenry." The most recent example is Ben Carson, whose remarks about having a Muslim in the White House violate both the letter and the spirit of the Sixth Amendment.


"His reason is that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution," he wrote. "On the contrary. Carson is incompatible with a Constitution[.]" Nor was Krauthammer inclined to brook Carson's defense -- that he only meant that he would never advocate voting for a Muslim, but that they shouldn't be disqualified from holding office.

"[T]hat defense misses the point," he argued. "The Constitution is not just a legal document. It is a didactic one. It doesn't just set limits to power; it expresses a national ethos. It doesn't just tell you what you're not allowed to do; it also suggests what you shouldn't want to do."

Krauthammer later argued that he doesn't doubt "that his statement about a Muslim president was sincerely felt," but that "it remains morally outrageous" anyway, and in terms of a general election, "politically poisonous."


"Particularly," he added, "when it follows the yeoman work done by the other leading GOP candidate to alienate other large chunks of the citizenry."

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at

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