Ben Carson (Credit: AP Photo/Matt York) (AP)

Ben Carson on LGBTQ military service: "Give me a break — deal with the transgender thing somewhere else"

"I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation," he said


Scott Eric Kaufman
December 7, 2015 6:38PM (UTC)

At a veterans' town hall in Waterloo, Iowa over the weekend Dr. Ben Carson tried to pump life into his fading campaign by attacking a class of citizen Republicans are united in their hatred of -- transgender people.

Presumably taking his cue from Ted Cruz -- who last week argued, sans evidence, that the Planned Parenthood shooter was a "transgendered leftist activist" -- an Saturday's meeting of Concerned Veterans for America, Carson complained about the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the lifting of the ban on transgender service, saying that "I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation."

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"The last thing that we need to be doing is saying what would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into this platoon," he said. "Give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else." Carson showed his unfamiliarity with the issue of transgender identity, claiming it was a "sexuality" that people "flaunt."

"I liked the old ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ philosophy," he said. "Why do you have to go around flaunting your sexuality? It’s not necessary. You don’t need to talk about that. We need to talk about how we eliminate the enemy."

Carson also touched on the topic of women in combat roles, saying "as far as women on the battlefield, I have a tendency to want to protect women, but I also have great respect for women. All the success I've had in life is due to women. I'm never going to say 'No' to women, but I'm very frightened about women in certain positions if we have to lower the standards."

He added that "if a woman wants to meet those standards, and she can meet those standards, I won't say 'No.' But what woman wants to go to the front line, to the dirt and the slime -- I mean, if they want to do that and they can meet the requirements, I wouldn't deny them. But we have to be steadfast about the requirements."

Watch Carson's statement in its entirety below via CBS News.

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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 skaufman@salon.com.

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