WASHINGTON, Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has canceled his upcoming trip to three African countries, as well as a later trip to Israel, due to “security concerns.”
CNN reported Carson’s campaign did not give any further information Thursday morning.
Carson was scheduled to visit Zambia, Kenya and Nigeria right after Christmas. He also had a trip to Israel scheduled early next year, before the Iowa caucus Feb. 1.
Donald Trump also was scheduled to visit Israel later this month, but postponed his trip following outrage from members of the Israeli Knesset over his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement rejecting the proposal, but said he was still willing to meet with Trump. Shortly after that, Trump postponed the trip, saying he would visit at a later date when he is elected president.
Carson’s trip to Africa had a threefold purpose. In Kenya, he planned to reconnect with his roots — Carson has previously said Kenya was his ancestral homeland.
The visit to Nigeria was so that Carson could learn more about the terrorist group Boko Haram, and also so he could visit The Benjamin S. Carson School of Medicine at Babcock University — named for him.
In Zambia, Carson planned to visit the Banda twins. In 1997, Carson lead the surgery to separate the twins — conjoined at the skull. Joseph and Luka Banda are the first conjoined twins of their kind to survive separation without any neurological problems.
The week-long trip could be seen as a way for Carson to further bolster his foreign policy. Carson recently admitted to ABC News that a lack of foreign policy experience is hurting him in the polls. This comes after a series of foreign policy blunders — such as claiming that China had ground troops in Syria.
A recent trip to Jordan to tour refugee camps is also seen as an attempt to beef up Carson’s credentials as he lags in the polls.
By Ann Marie Awad