Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson prepares to board his bus after a stop to sign his book at a Barnes and Noble store on Nov. 5, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. 
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

Ben Carson to visit Syrian refugees in Jordan

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson will go to Jordan Friday to visit Syrian refugees, campaign officials said Thursday.

The New York Times first reported that Carson plans to visit a refugee camp in northern Jordan. Campaign officials confirmed the trip on Thursday night.

“I find when you have firsthand knowledge of things as opposed to secondhand, it makes a much stronger impression,” Carson told the Times before his departure.

RELATED: Carson’s foreign policy fumbles take a toll

For months, Carson has been strongly opposed to the United States accepting Syrian refugees, asking Congress to defund any programs that promote refugees coming to America.

He also was criticized for comparing security concerns with refugees to worries over “a rabid dog running around your neighborhood.”

“We have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly,” Carson said.

In recent weeks, the retired neurosurgeon has faced questions over his depth of foreign policy knowledge.

At the last Republican presidential debate, Carson suggested that China was involved in Syria. He later tried to clarify that claim, and said only some Chinese military equipment is being used there.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that support for Ben Carson in Iowa dropped 10 points since October, when he stood in first place. Carson has since slipped behind Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, in the state the campaign sees as essential.

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Ben Carson and Refugee

Ben Carson to visit Syrian refugees in Jordan