Earlier this week, Dr. Ben Carson appeared on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” along with his new campaign chairman, retired General Robert Dees. During the interview, Tapper asked Carson and Dees to discuss their opposition to social experimentation in the nation’s military. You can watch the exchange and read the transcript below:
TAPPER: You’ve said, general, that social experimentation within our military is weakening the nation. What do you mean by that?
DEES: Everyone is not good at everything. And a lot of times because of perhaps what some would call social engineering. We have tried experiments within the military such as the role of women in combat.
Certainly, some women can perform well in combat under certain task. But if you look at the population demographics, most women — I mean, you’re talking thousands — cannot properly carry a 230-pound soldier with rug sack and combat vest on off of the battlefield to save his life.
And so, there are just certain realities where men can do certain things better. Women can do certain things better.
TAPPER: How would that philosophy apply to gays and lesbians in the military serving openly?
DEES: Well, I think the first priority again is cohesion. And the second priority would be that the commander in chief listen to the best military advice. So, on a number of these social issues the best military advice has been thwarted and the administration has said, “Do this, do this, do this,” apart from military and defense considerations as a priority.
TAPPER: If you were president, sir, would you contemplate bringing back a ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military if that’s what military advisers including General Dees told you to do? Would you favor rolling back some of the programs that have been opened up for women, if you were convinced by individuals like General Dees that they were done for social experimentation and women were not up for the task?
CARSON: One of the things that I learned in a long medical career is that you make decisions based on evidence and not on ideology. So, yes, I would be willing to sit down with people from both sides and examine the evidence and make decisions based on what the evidence shows.
TAPPER: Dr. Carson, General Dees, thank you so much. Appreciate you taking the time.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for the American Principles Project and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.