Ben Carson softens his endorsement of Trump

Ben Carson endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump last week. On Monday night, Carson appeared to insinuate that he would rather have endorsed another candidate. 

Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, left, speaks with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after a news conference at the Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla.

Retired neurosurgeon and erstwhile Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump last week, despite unpleasant words exchanged between the two earlier in the campaign season. Yet on Monday night, Carson delivered his weakest endorsement for Trump yet.

When Dr. Carson first announced his endorsement last week, he lauded Trump’s more contemplative, considered side. Yet despite his praise, some of his personal beliefs seem to be at odds with Trump’s public persona.

Voters should choose their next president, Carson said, on "how they treat their family and others ... how they collaborate with others ... their ethics, because what America needs is 'Trickle-down ethics.'"

With Carson’s long-time emphasis on civility, bombastic, profane businessman Donald Trump seems like an unlikely recipient of Carson’s support.

On Monday night, Carson appeared on NewsMax TV for an interview with Steve Malzberg.

While there were other candidates he preferred, Carson said that his decision to support Trump was based on pragmatism and his desire to involve the greatest number of people in political action.

“The reason I’m choosing Trump is that I’m a big picture guy,” Carson told Mr. Malzberg. “And I recognize that he’s bringing in a lot of people who were not interested in coming in before.”

If the GOP has a brokered convention, said Carson, the GOP could lose the Senate and the Supreme Court to the progressives.

“I didn’t see a path for [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich, who I like, or for [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio, who I like. As far as [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz is concerned, I don’t think he’s gonna be able to draw independents and Democrats unless has has some kind of miraculous change,” said Carson. “Is there another scenario that I would have preferred? Yes. But that scenario isn’t available.”

Even if, Carson told Malzberg, Donald Trump is a bad president, four years is a small price to pay for continued Republican control in Washington. If the Democrats win the White House, Carson told Malzberg that he foresees the end of the American Dream.

Although Carson dropped out of the presidential race in early March, it appears that he is still interested in politics. Carson told Mr. Malzberg that he anticipates that he will be one of the “good people” surrounding Trump if he makes it to the White House.

Although Carson says he has been promised some sort of job, at least in an advisory capacity, he declined to elaborate, saying that he could not “reveal any details about it right now, because all of this is still very liquid.”

Promising appointments in exchange for political support is illegal, though Trump spokeswoman Holly Hicks said that Carson had not been promised a position.

"As stated by both Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson during Friday's press conference, no role had been promised or even discussed,” said Hicks. “Both only stated that Dr. Carson will be involved with the campaign going forward."

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