It would be unconstitutional to disqualify a Muslim from the presidency because of religion, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Sunday.

“You know, the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am a constitutionalist,” the Texas senator said during the taping of “Iowa Press” at Iowa Public Television.

Cruz was talking about Ben Carson’s televised statement that Islam is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.  “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Cruz also referred to the ongoing controversy raised in the media over whether Donald Trump should have corrected a man who incorrectly stated at a rally that President Obama is a Muslim and not an American.  “My view, listen. The president’s faith is between him and God.  What I’m going to focus on is his public policy record,” Cruz said.

One area in which Cruz did not mind excluding Muslims, however, was from the ranks of refugees from Syria seeking asylum in the United States.  He said they should settle in other Middle Eastern countries, citing concerns that some of the purported refugees may actually be terrorists.

“I think the Christians are a very different circumstance because Christians are being persecuted, they are being persecuted directly for their faith and the Obama administration has abandoned Middle East Christians,” Cruz said.

Several other Republican presidential candidates weighed in on the issue of Syrian refugees Saturday during a forum in Des Moines, Iowa. Mike Huckabee agreed with Cruz that the U.S. should exclude Muslim refugees but accept Christians. Rick Santorum argued that even the Christians should be assisted in the region so they can return home when the violence ends.

Following his visit at Iowa Public Television, Cruz visited with restaurant-goers at the Machine Shed Restaurant in Urbandale for more light-hearted discussions while Iowans enjoyed their morning brunch.

Over 40 people were at the restaurant, with many of them unaware that Cruz was planning on showing up. He went around the restaurant, shaking hands with people at each table while they took photos with him and got his autograph. Several people congratulated him on his performance at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition dinnerand the recent CNN Debate. Following those events, Cruz said he feels confident about his standing in the state. Both Cruz and Gov. Bobby Jindal received the most applause from Saturday evening’s dinner.

“I feel very, very encouraged. We’re doing well in the national polls and we’re doing well here in Iowa,” Cruz said. “People are tired of just candidates that talk a good game on the campaign trail. They want someone who has a record and tells the truth and do what they say.”

Cruz stopped by the table of Cheryl Hetrick, 49, of Des Moines, who congratulated him on his debate performance, telling him she appreciated his comments.

“I appreciate his ability to stand his ground on his beliefs,” Hetrick said. “It shows his integrity.”

Cruz also stopped by the Fuhrman’s table, signing a note for 7-year-old Luke Fuhrman, of Waukee, to “stand for liberty.”

“That was a surprise,” said Bryce Fuhrman, 38, of Waukee. “Ted Cruz is one of my front runners. I like that he’s going to follow the Constitution.”