Ben Carson is apparently climbing aboard the Trump train.
The ex-presidential candidate for the GOP who ended his campaign last week will reportedly throw his endorsement to front-runner Donald Trump in a joint press conference tomorrow morning at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
This is the second endorsement Trump has received from one of his rivals so far, having previously been backed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Starting out in a field of 17, the final four — Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich — meet tonight in a CNN nationally-televised debate from Miami in the run-up to the key Florida primary on Tuesday, otherwise known as Super Tuesday 3, when several other important states will cast ballots too.
During the campaign, the brash New York real estate mogul had some harsh words for Dr. Carson (and virtually everyone else in the contest), but apparently all is forgiven, which is far from unusual in the world of politics.
The response to the Carson endorsement on Twitter has been mixed, on the both sides of the ideological aisle, which is to be expected when emotions are running high in an election year.
Carson — the retired director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital — shot to overnight national prominence in February, 2013, when he criticized Obamacare and other Barack Obama policies with the president sitting two seats away during the event.
In a wide-ranging address that was primarily inspirational and patriotic, the soft-spoken Carson — who came from a low-income background — touched on alternatives to Obamacare, the need to accept personal responsibility, education, faith, runaway Washington spending, reforming the tax code without engaging in class warfare, and other issues such as political correctness.
SCOOP: Ben Carson plans to endorse Trump on Friday, huddled w/ GOP front-runner today at Mar-a-Lago https://t.co/Q45UzEOxCR— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 10, 2016
Carson now lives in West Palm Beach and apparently he and Trump had a private sit-down today in the area, according to the Washington Post, to discuss the endorsement.
“Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, confirmed that the pair met Thursday but declined to comment further. A Trump campaign spokesperson declined to comment about the meeting or a possible endorsement. The support of Carson, a famed retired neurosurgeon and author, will likely give Trump a boost with GOP base voters and evangelicals, who embraced Carson’s campaign in its early days and fueled his brief rise to the top of Republican primary polls. Carson’s decision may surprise some of his backers since Trump made blistering critiques over the past year of stories from Carson’s past. But according to people close to him, Carson has gradually come to see Trump as the GOP’s best chance of winning a general election and turning out droves of disengaged voters.”
Added CNN about the Carson endorsement of Donald Trump: “Carson, respected within the evangelical community, had briefly overtaken Trump in the polls earlier in the 2016 campaign. But he failed to maintain that momentum as he struggled with foreign policy and national security questions, and made multiple gaffes on the trail.”
Bad blood developed between the Carson and Ted Cruz campaigns during the Iowa Caucus after Cruz operatives allegedly and erroneously claimed that Carson was dropping out. As such, Cruz seemed unlikely to obtain a Carson endorsement after Carson ended his bid for the presidency.
BEN'S BIG BOOST? Sources: Carson expected to endorse Trump Friday - https://t.co/OSSLfKb3cr— Lennie Jarratt (@ljarratt) March 11, 2016
Cruz did pick up endorsements this week from businesswoman Carly Fiorina, a former candidate for president, and Utah Senator Mike Lee, along with talk show host Mark Levin.
In a radio interview today, Ben Carson acknowledged that he was leaning toward endorsing Trump.
“There are two Donald Trumps. There’s the Donald Trump that you see on television and who gets out in front of big audiences, and there’s the Donald Trump behind the scenes. They’re not the same person.”
[Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP]