Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer joined Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on a trip to Jordan this week to visit refugee camps near the Syrian border.
Colyer’s visit comes two weeks after Gov. Sam Brownback issued an executive order instructing Kansas agencies not to cooperate with the federal government in resettling Syrian refugees in Kansas.
A release from the governor’s office said that Colyer, a doctor, has volunteered during the conflict in Syria in recent years. Colyer said in a statement that organizations trying to help refugees are overwhelmed
“They need more money and long term assistance,” Colyer said. “Syrians want to go home and live in peace. Americans can help by supporting humanitarian organizations on the ground.”
Colyer said that he first talked with Carson about the trip in September but that it was kept quiet for security reasons. Colyer said the visit to Jordan gave the presidential candidate “the opportunity to meet Syrians first-hand and listen to their stories. The Paris attacks just reinforced how important the Syrian conflict is to the West.”
The trip comes at time when Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who is running second behind Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in most national polls, faces questions about his foreign policy credentials.
“We must end the war and prioritize helping the millions of Syrians who want to stay near their homes,” Carson said in a statement. “The Obama/Clinton policy has failed innocent civilians. The international community must do more.”
Colyer’s decision to join Carson on his Middle East trip could be a sign that he will back Carson in the Kansas Republican caucuses in March. Carson made two visits to Kansas last month for fundraisers and book signings.