Ben Carson Travels To Jordan & It's An Important Step For The GOP Candidate
ABC's This Week featured an interview with GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson, who discussed the situation in Syria that has displaced millions. In his appearance on the show, he was interviewed from Amman, Jordan, and it marked an important moment for the candidate. Ben Carson's trip to Jordan has been described by the candidate as a means to better understand the situation unfolding in the Middle East. When asked if the impromptu trip was an indication that he was unfit to lead the country, Carson said:
I'm acknowledging that I like to know what I'm talking about. It's the same situation when I went this summer down to the border of Mexico. I knew that there were problems there, but to be able to actually talk to the farmers who are being harassed and to the sheriffs and sheriffs' deputies who are frustrated after risking their lives. ... It's good to be able to see these things for yourself so you can actually begin to formulate the right kinds of policies with the real information.
Carson released a statement on his Facebook page accompanied by a photo of the candidate with a sleeping refugee child. He criticized the efforts of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and says that he will be releasing a more comprehensive plan to address the Syrian refugee crisis within the next few days.
It's clear from Carson's statements as well as his interview on This Week that the former neurosurgeon has had a significant change of heart regarding the people of Syria. Whereas Carson had previously likened Syrian refugees to rabid dogs during a campaign stop in Alabama, his experiences at the Zaatari refugee camp have made him more compassionate towards their plight. Carson says that he was surprised by how welcoming the refugee community was to him and his wife, Candy. Carson had also met with NGO representatives, humanitarian aid workers, and fellow medical professionals in Amman.
Though he is still against allowing refugees into the United States, Carson believes that helping the over 650,000 Syrians displaced in refugee camps in Jordan via funding humanitarian aide is the best way to make a positive impact during this crisis. He was impressed by Jordan's efforts as a country but says that more can be done by the United States to more positively impact the country as refugees await returning to their home country. Carson noted in a Facebook post that his many talks with those in Zaatari revealed that a majority of Syrians simply want to go home:
Millions of refugees have now been waiting years for the end of the war to come in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some are giving up hope that they will ever be able to return to the country. We must keep their hope alive. Until it is safe for them to return home, Jordan is a safe place for them to wait. The kingdom has welcomed them with open arms. But Jordan is a small country. They need the world's help to feed, educate, and care for these refugees until the war ends... Jordan needs and deserves our logistical help and financial support.
Carson's trip to Jordan may help him in the polls in addition to bolstering his foreign policy knowledge, long thought to be a point of weakness. Former CIA agent and current Carson adviser Duane Clarridge had previously lamented the candidates shaky grasp on pressing foreign issues. The social media response to Carson's trip has shown that his supporters are impressed by the candidate's efforts and believe him to be a man of action. The trip will certainly come in handy as a point of reference during the next GOP debate, to take place on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas.