Amid controversy over comments about a Muslim being president, Ben Carson visited his home state of Michigan for the first time since announcing his campaign to talk political correctness and “asinine” federal policies.
Carson’s message during his speech at Spring Arbor University on Sept. 23 was a conservative one, rejecting political correctness without specifically addressing the controversy surrounding his comments.
“I’m not politically correct at all," he said. "I hate political correctness.
“It’s practiced by those who want to fundamentally change our society. They don’t care whether you agree with them or not, as long as you keep your head down and shut up. Well, it’s time for us to stand up.”
The stance on political correctness came just days after Carson garnered criticism for telling NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that he didn’t think a Muslim should be president. While in Michigan, a state with a large Muslim population, Carson told reporters that his remarks were taken out of context, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“We have an American culture and an American constitution, and anybody who’s going to occupy the White House should be living in a pattern that is consistent with our constitution and with our culture,” he said.
“There is something that is known as the American way, the American dream," he added. "Why in the world would we want to give away our principles and values for the sake of political correctness? That would be the biggest mistake we could ever make.”
The retired neurosurgeon also touched on the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage this past June, saying that the court made a mistake in their ruling.
“I have nothing against gay people whatsoever, but I’m a pragmatic person and I realize that if you change the definition of marriage for one group, what right do you have to stop changing it for the next group and the next group,” he said.
“Any two adults, regardless of orientation, if they want to live together, draw up documents to share property, so be it," he added. "But why do you need to impose your values on everybody else.”
In his home state, Carson is polling at 21 percent in a local Fox News poll, just behind GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who polled at 26 percent. Many of the candidate’s supporters said they like Carson because of his outsider status.
“It looks like the brightest people running are all outsiders,” supporter Bob Guyski told the Detroit Free Press. “He’s a brilliant man, who has done so much for so many.
"He’s God-fearing, and I think the rest are fearful of that. He comes across as meek and mild some times, but you don’t have to shout to get your point across.”
His visit was not welcomed by everyone, however. The Michigan Democratic Party responded to the campaign stop in a statement.
“Ben Carson's policies would do a lot to hurt Michigan families,” the statement read. “Michigan doesn't need any more extremism, we need candidates focused on jobs and strengthening the middle class.