Ben Carson called the rhetoric of fellow Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump "a distraction" and offered what he said was a better answer to America's illegal immigration problems than the controversial solutions proposed by the billionaire.
The retired neurosurgeon made clear Wednesday on CBSN that he believed both American politicians and citizens have more important issues to focus on than Trump's off-the-cuff remarks. He said he had hoped that America could "reach a level of maturity where we could actually pass by [Trump's comments]."
"Absolutely it's a distraction. I mean, what does this really mean for the future of America?" Carson said. "If we're gonna spend all the time talking about he-said-she-said, as opposed to what the real issues are, if we're that easily distracted, what will our enemies do?"
When it came to Trump's rhetoric about illegal immigrants, however, Carson had much to say. He put forward his own strategy, saying that although America needs to secure its borders, "we have mechanisms of doing that that don't include fences and walls."
"We have electronic surveillance, we have drones, we have a number of technological advances that can be used to seal the border," Carson said.
He added that any answer to immigration is more complex than just border security, calling it "part one" of the overall solution.
"Part two is, you have to stop supplying the things that people are coming here to get. If those things don't exist, then they won't be coming here."
Carson said he would grant illegal immigrants already in the U.S. guest-worker status. That would allow them to stay in the country as workers, but would come with the burden of taxes and the inability to become citizens.
"We're a compassionate and innovative society," said Carson, adding that Americans must find ways to incentivize foreigners to remain in their own countries.
He also insisted that he is not, nor will ever be, a politician. He believes his desire to run for president stems from the care he paid to children during his time as a doctor.
"What are we doing to them financially? With the incredible debts that we are accumulating, with our failure to take lead on the world stage, with the decisiveness of our society?" Carson said. "You know, we've almost become rabid people."
Whether he approves of Trump's comments, Carson said he ultimately supports Trump's right to say it. Likewise, the neurosurgeon said that whether the real estate developer should remain in the race for the White House is something best left up to the public.
"It seems to me that the people are speaking in these polls, and no, they don't think he should get out."