Ben Carson has been shown the money. The retired neurosurgeon saw an influx of contributions following a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" in which Carson made some controversial remarks about the ability of Muslims to hold the office of the presidency.
The contributions went to the super PAC associated with Carson's campaign, an outside advocacy group that is legally limited from corresponding with the campaign on matters of strategy and message. How much that surge in donations accounted for wasn't immediately clear, though the chairman of the PAC said that his phone had "exploded" with supporters who agreed with Carson's message.
"We sent out an email to Carson supporters, and we’ve never had an email raise so much money so quickly — it’s unbelievable,” said John Philip Sousa IV, the chairman of Committee 2016, the super PAC. “My phone has exploded over the last 48 hours [with] people wanting me to pass on to Dr. Carson how much they respect his truthfulness and believe in the American system and how absolutely not should anyone who believes in Sharia law come close to the White House. The people are on Dr. Carson’s side on this one — sorry NBC, you lose."
Carson said on the television program that he would not "advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation." The remarks drew criticism from some who felt the remarks were disparaging to Muslim-Americans, but Carson doubled down in the next two days. "I do not believe Sharia [law] is consistent with the Constitution of this country," he said Monday, referencing Islamic tradition and religious law.
Carson has seen a fast rise to the upper echelons of the Republican nomination race following two strong debate showings in August and September. Following the most recent debate, at least one poll showed that Carson had had gained considerable ground in national polls. He was 8 points behind front-runner Donald Trump, who had 23 percent, and 5 points ahead of the No. 3, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who had 10 percent.