Carson says he would use 'every resource known to man' to eliminate terrorists

Story highlights

  • "We have to recognize the global jihadist movement is an existential threat," Carson said
  • Carson said "boots on the ground" would be "important" but stressed a coalition would need to be formed

Orlando, Florida (CNN)Ben Carson, responding to the terror attacks in Paris, said Friday that he would use "every resource known to man" to eliminate Islamic terrorists if president and argued that his mild demeanor would not be a problem in taking on global threats.

"It reminds us that there are those out there who have a thirst for innocent blood in an attempt to spread their philosophy and their will across this globe," he told reporters after speaking at the Sunshine Summit, a Republican gathering in Orlando featuring appearances by presidential candidates. "And we must redouble our efforts and our resolve to resist them. Not only to contain them, but to eliminate that kind of hatred in the world."
    Carson said he would be working with allies to use "every resource known to man in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources, overt resources" and "military resources, things they don't know about" to eliminate terrorists "before they eliminate us."
    "We have to recognize the global jihadist movement is an existential threat which is very different from anything we've faced previously," he added.
    Carson said "boots on the ground" would be "important" but stressed a coalition would need to be formed.
    Asked if he could be a forceful presence as commander-in-chief despite his soft-spoken demeanor, Carson said, "strength is not determined by the number of decibels in your voice."
    Following the attack, France closed its borders after having accepted waves of Syrian refugees. The United States has pledged to accept at least 10,000 refugees, though critics, like Carson, argue that ISIS is likely to infiltrate groups of refugees and it will be difficult to vet every person coming in.
    "If I were one of the leaders of the global jihadist movement and I didn't infiltrate that group of people with my people, I -- that would be almost malpractice," he said Friday.
    Donald Trump has said he would send the refugees back if he becomes president. Carson said he wouldn't allow them in in the first place, but pressed further on what he would do if they were already here should he become president, Carson pushed back: "Well, they haven't let them in yet."
    "What we need to be doing is encouraging Congress to stand against such executive orders. Congress does have a role to play here and it's not just being the peanut gallery," he added.
    Carson has been an outspoken opponent of allowing the refugees in, and took some heat for saying this fall that he would not feel comfortable with a Muslim president unless he or she rejected the tenets of Islam.
    Jeb Bush also weighed in on the refugee debate Friday after the attack, reiterating his stance that the United States should take in some refugees but urged vetting.
    "We're prepared to take a tiny fraction of the people that are coming, and they should be thoroughly screened, for sure," he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. "But I think we need to be much more aggressive in moving to a legal immigration system where we pick who comes."