Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson pushed back on the notion that he would use weaponized drones to kill people along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"In no way did I suggest using drones to kill people," he said Sunday, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union." "How ridiculous."
Carson's comments come after a helicopter tour of the U.S.-Mexico border last week, where he met with local law enforcement to discuss illegal immigration and drug smuggling. On Wednesday he told reporters, "You look at some of these caves and things out there; one drone strike, boom, and they're gone," referring to caves used by drug cartels.
On Sunday, Carson doubled down on his recommendation to use armed drones to blow up caves, but added that he would make sure the caves were empty first. "There are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated," he said. "I'm not talking about killing people. No people with drones."
While the U.S. government has deployed drones to the southern border for surveillance purposes, using armed drones in any capacity there would be a dramatic policy shift. It is also unclear how Carson would ensure that the caves were free of people before conducting a drone strike.
In addition to using drones to blow up caves used by drug cartels, Carson advocated sending the National Guard to patrol the border. "Along that border we have miles and miles of fences. I went there last week and didn't see any Border Patrol people," he said Sunday. "And those fences are so easy to scale, it's almost like not having them there."