MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski finds it "vexing" that Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson claims China is involved in the Syrian civil war.
"It's completely confusing... and really frightening for our country," the "Morning Joe" host said.
During Tuesday's GOP debate on the Fox Business Network, Carson said that China had military elements located in Syria, an unsubstantiated claim that the Chinese government has previously denied.
"You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there,” Carson said.
During a press conference Wednesday in Virginia, Carson declined to specify how China is involved in the conflict, saying, “I would have to refer you to some other people to get you the actual data but they’ve shown it to me.” Carson campaign spokesman Doug Watts subsequently sent The Washington Post links to a number of blog posts from this year and 2013 that speculated that China was sending troops to the embattled country.
“What am I missing here with this candidate?” Brzezinski asked The Post's Robert Costa, who appeared as a guest on the show. “It seems as if he might not know anything about what he’s talking about as it pertains to foreign policy -- like to a point of frightening and detrimental.”
Costa responded that Carson’s appeal to voters has never revolved around a deep understanding of policy, an answer Brzezinski felt skirted the issue.
“What was that answer? That was not a no, or a yes,” she said. “I’m not sure why he’s being handled with kid gloves.”
"Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist agreed.
“If you’re running for president and you’re taking a nugget of something you may have heard or read to make an argument, that is a little frightening,” he said.
Watch the "Morning Joe" clip above.