Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential hopeful, somehow loosely tied Hillary Clinton to Lucifer while speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention on Tuesday.
“Let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky,” Carson said, veering completely off script during his speech. “He wrote a book called Rules for Radicals. On the dedication page, it acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom.”
“So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model someone who acknowledges Lucifer?” Carson asked the audience.
Alinsky, the subject of Clinton’s college thesis, was a liberal community organizer. He died in 1972.
“The secular progressive agenda is antithetical to the principles of the founding of this nation,” Carson continued. “And if we continue to allow them to take God out of our lives, God will remove himself from us. We will not be blessed, and our nation will go down the tubes. And we will be responsible for that. We don’t want that to happen.”
Reporters noted that Carson’s comments were not a part of his prepared remarks, and that the words on the prompter were “scrolling aimlessly,” perhaps in an attempt to get him back on script. At one point when Carson was talking, one reporter said, the prompter simply read, “Musical interlude.”
Following the speech, political pundit Dana Perino told a Fox News panel that Carson “had some of the best lines, some of the best energy, a great tone.”
“The Lucifer reference for me, maybe a little bit of a step too far. But the crowd really loved it,” Perino said.
Carson stood by his comments Wednesday when CNN’s Chris Cuomo pointed out that the retired neurosurgeon was criticizing Clinton for something she did in college.
“Except you have to also use your brain,” Carson said. “And you say, if she believed that at that time, and now you look at her actions, you look at what she advocates, the killing of babies, the dissolution of the traditional family, all these kinds of things. Those are pretty consistent, quite frankly.”
This article has been updated with Carson’s CNN interview and observations from reporters.