Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said as president he'd use "every resource known to man" to respond to terrorist threats, including but not limited to boots on the ground, in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks on Friday night.
"I would be working with our allies using every resource known to man, in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources, overt resources, military resources, things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources, in an attempt not to contain them, but to eliminate them before they eliminate us," he told reporters in Orlando, after speaking at the Florida GOP's Sunshine Summit.
Pressed on specifics, Carson said "boots on the ground would probably be important," suggesting US troops were needed to encourage other Middle Eastern nations to join the fight.
"Throughout that whole middle eastern region, we have been calling for a coalition of the people who have a vested interest. We have not really seen much of a coalition form, but that’s because there’s no leadership," he said.
Carson joined a handful of other presidential contenders in offering condolences for the attacks, the death toll of which had reached at least 120 by Thursday night, according to reports.
He also suggested Syrian refugees could pose a threat to the U.S., and argued lawmakers should do what they can to oppose the White House's plans to accept Syrian refugees — though there's no clear legislative response to that.
"We need to encourage Congress to stand against such executive orders," he said.
But he also defended himself against questions over whether his notoriously calm and cool demeanor suggested he couldn't show strength in the face of national security threats.
"Strength is not determined by the number of decibels in your voice," he said. "I think that would be very apparent to people very quickly."
Still, he stayed calm when confronted with attacks from Donald Trump, who on Wednesday escalated his attacks on the candidate who knocked him off the top of the polls. Trump likened Carson's "pathological" temper to the proclivities of child molesters, saying neither could be cured and so he wouldn't want someone like Carson as president.
But Carson brushed the attack off.
"When I was a youngster, I used to get irritated by that kind of thing. 'He said this about you, he said this about your momma,' you know, I used to get involved in stuff. I’ve moved so far beyond that, I don't pay attention to that kind of stuff," he said.
Carson weighed in on a number of other controversial topics, including the Terri Schiavo case and the recent protests on the University of Missouri campus, but perhaps his most unexpected comments came when he replied to a question on America's commitment to Israel. He said proof of the close ties between the two nations could be found on the back of the $1 bill, repeating a theory that's been shared across the Internet but widely debunked.
"Absolutely, Israel is our friend and we need to take care of it. If you don't believe it, take your wallet out and pull out a one dollar bill, look on the back of it. You'll see a Star of David there. Most Americans don't know it's there," he said.