Fox Business debate moderator Maria Bartiromo asked retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson a pointed line of questions during Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate.
“Dr. Carson, one of the other candidates on this stage has brought up Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions,” Bartiromo said, a reference to remarks made by real-estate mogul Donald Trump.
Trump has gone on the offensive against the former president after Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, accused Trump of exhibiting a “penchant for sexism.”
“Is that a legitimate topic in this election?” Bartiromo asked.
The crowd cheered, with many people shouting, “Yeah!”
Bartiromo then added: “And what do you think of the notion that Hillary Clinton is ‘an enabler’ of sexual misconduct?”
Carson, speaking vaguely, said Bill Clinton’s past is fair game regardless of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“There’s no question that we should be able to look at any past president, whether they’re married to somebody who’s running for president or not, in terms of their past behaviour,” he said.
The retired surgeon then pivoted to a call for national unity.
“But here’s the real issue: Is this America anymore?” Carson asked. “Do we still have standards? Do we still have values and principles. You look at what’s going on, you see all of the divisiveness and the hatred that goes on in our society. We have a ‘war’ on virtually everything. Race ‘wars.’ Gender ‘wars.’ Income ‘wars.’ Religious ‘wars.’ Age ‘wars.’ Every ‘war’ you can imagine, we have people at each other’s throats. And our strength is actually in our unity.”
Carson cited internet comments sections to make his point.
“You go to the internet. You start reading an article,” Carson said. “And you go to the comments section. You cannot go five comments down before people are calling each other all matter of names. Where did that spirit come from in America? It did not come from our Judeo-Christian roots, I can tell you that.”
He added: “We need to start once again recognising that there is such a thing as right and wrong, and let’s not let the secular progressives drive that out of us.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.