Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said Monday that President Barack Obama had misread the American public by prioritising gun-control measures over border issues in his upcoming State of the Union address.
Obama plans to leave a seat vacant during his Tuesday-night address to represent the victims of gun violence.
Carson, a Republican presidential candidate, was asked about that gesture during a Fox News interview on “America’s Newsroom.”
“I wonder if the American people are concerned about that kind of symbolism, or are they concerned about the safety of their family members when they sit around the table at nighttime to eat dinner?” Carson said.
Carson then pivoted to discuss national security and the US border. Carson said “a lot of people” from Iraq, Syria, and Somalia — whom he said are referred to as “other than Mexicans” — were infiltrating the US.
“We’ve gotten into all of these fancy symbolisms, and we are actually in a lot of trouble. You look at the number of infiltrations particularly at our Southern border, what they call ‘OTMs,’ ‘other than Mexicans’ — and that also includes other than Central Americans and South Americans,” he replied.
He continued: “A lot of people are coming here from Iraq and Syria and Somalia and places like that. And we’re not doing a lot about it. They are infiltrating. There are cells there. The American people are concerned about that, and they don’t see the same level of concern from our government. I think that’s what they are worried about — not about some empty seat.”
Carson’s campaign has sagged in public polls since November, when his own foreign-policy adviser openly criticised the candidate’s knowledge of national-security issues.
Watch Carson on Fox News below:
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.