Spin Cycle

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Rep. Pete King, who has been critical of the Muslim community in this country for not denouncing terrorism, disagreed with Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's view that a Muslim should not be president.

King, the veteran Republican from Seaford, said during an interview on Fox News on Monday morning: "A Muslim has every right to run for president and be president."

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On Sunday, NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Carson if a president's faith mattered and if Islam was consistent with the U.S. Constitution.

"I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," Carson replied.

"I think it was wrong. Ben Carson, probably, what he should've said: 'If you believe in Islamic extremism, if you believe in the type of Islam which believes in jihad then you should not be president,'" King said on Fox. "But there are many, many good Muslims in this country. And, yeah, I've been critical of the Muslim community but I also know there are many, many good Muslims."

 

In a telephone interview, King explained, "I have been critical of the Muslim community for not denouncing jihad and terrorism, But that should not mean that every Muslim should prohibited from running for president."

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King added, "I can very easily vote for one."

 

King cited Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) as a Muslim who is a legitimate elected official. King said Carson has served in the U.S. military and military police , and he's someone King has worked with on the House Homeland Security Committee.

 

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But King said because Islamist extremists are at war with the United States it would be legitimate to ask a Muslim candidate for his or her views on jihad and terrorism.

 

Liberal groups, such as Talking Point Memo, have been critical of King but noted his comments.

 

TPM wrote: The criticism may be unexpected coming from King, who once scheduled hearings to examine the "radicalization" of American Muslims, said that there were "too many" mosques in the country, and once told Fox's Sean Hannity that "80 to 85 percent" of the country's mosques are overseen by "Islamic fundamentalists." He has also called for the "all out" surveillance of Muslim communities by law enforcement.