Ben Carson Says His Holocaust Comments Were 'Not Hyperbole at All'

The media has blown his remarks out of proportion, the Republican presidential candidate says.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is sticking to his guns.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, Carson defended his assertion that if more people had been armed leading up to and during World War II, Adolf Hitler may not have been able to carry out the mass murder of Jews in Europe on such a large scale.  

“It's not hyperbole at all,” Carson said. “Whether it’s on our doorstep or whether it’s 50 years away, it's still a concern and it’s something that we must guard against. That’s one of the real purposes of having a constitution. I think the founders were really quite insightful into looking at possibilities and understanding what has happened in other places and trying to put together something that would prevent that from happening here.”

Carson on Thursday told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Holocaust may not have been as deadly if more Jews had had guns.

“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” he said. “I'm telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.”

On Face the Nation, Carson said the comments have been blown out of proportion by the news media and that voters understand his point. 

“There are a lot of people in the media who would take anything you say and try and make it into hyperbole and try to make it into controversy,” Carson said. “But the fact of the matter is when you talk to average American citizens, they know exactly what I'm talking about.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, refuted Carson's claim in a statement on Friday. 

“The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state,” Greenblatt wrote. “When they had weapons, Jews could symbolically resist, as they did in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and elsewhere, but they could not stop the Nazi genocide machine. In short, gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.”