Dr. Ben Carson, who has avoided talk of military service since it was revealed he lied about being offered a scholarship to West Point, on Saturday spoke to veterans at an Iowa town hall about women in combat, gays in the military and transgender military service.
"I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation," Carson told the Concerned Veterans for America at a "Veterans and Military Town Hall" in Waterloo, Iowa, according to MSNBC:
"We have too many important things to do when our men and women are out there fighting the enemy, the last thing we need to be doing is saying, 'What would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into this platoon?' Give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else."
Carson's remarks come as the deadline nears for the Pentagon to figure out the logistics of integrating transgender troops into the armed services. Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the creation of a Pentagon working group in July "to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly." About 15,000 transgender troops have been forced to conceal their gender identities for fear of being discharged despite the 2011 repeal of "don't ask, don't tell, which cleared the way for gay, lesbian and bisexual troops to serve openly, but not trans military.
"I liked the old 'don't ask don't tell' philosophy," Carson told the veterans, according to BuzzFeed. "Why do you have to go around flaunting your sexuality? It's not necessary. You don't need to talk about that. We need to talk about how we eliminate the enemy."
Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth asked Carson whether he thinks political correctness is affecting the military, reported BuzzFeed.
"As far as women are concerned on the battlefield, I have a tendency to want to protect women, but I also have great respect for women and all the success I've had in life is because of women. So I am never going to say no to the women, I'm not, but I am very frightened, when it comes to certain job descriptions, if we lower the standards."
Carson added, "But you know, what woman wants to go out in the front line in the dirt and slime fighting? I mean, if they want to do it and they're capable of it, no problem, I would never deny them. But I would be steadfast about the requirements. If you can't lift a 175-pound person on your shoulder and hoist them out of there, then if I'm out there I don't want you as my backup."
Another member of the audience asked Carson to "vow to not be a puppet like Obama for the New World Order," reported BuzzFeed. Carson promised to only be a puppet for God, and said, "The New World Order is not interested in him, I can guarantee you."