Dr. Ben Carson, a beloved figure to many conservatives, gave his endorsement of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. Carson said that there were, in fact, two Donald Trumps during his formal endorsement, which took place at the former reality star’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
“There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage and there’s the one who is very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully. You can have a very good conversation with him. That’s the Donald Trump that you’re going to start seeing more and more of.”
It is that “very cerebral” version of Donald Trump that Ben Carson seems to be endorsing.
Carson’s endorsement of Donald Trump comes just a week after he ended his own bid for the Republican nomination and is predicted to give Trump a significant boost as the race for the nomination heads to critical states like Florida and Ohio in just a few days.
Carson, whose calm and dignified demeanor is one of the aspects many conservatives praise him for, is seen as being a “polar opposite” of Donald Trump. It is Carson’s integrity and the trust many Conservatives, particularly evangelicals, have for him that may give Trump a boost among Republican voters who view his bombastic style as distasteful and untrustworthy. Carson vouchsafed that the Trump people see in public is different than the Trump he seems to be endorsing.
“Some people have gotten the impression that Donald Trump is this person who is not malleable, who does not have the ability to listen, and to take information in and make wise decisions. And that’s not true.”
Trump initially agreed with Ben Carson’s assessment that there are, in fact, two Donald Trumps.
“I probably do agree. There’s the public version…it seems to have worked over my lifetime,” Trump said. “I think it’s different than the personal one.”
Moments later, though, Trump seemed to reject that idea.
“I don’t think there are two Donald Trumps. I think there’s one Donald Trump,” he said.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the first Donald Trump believes there may be two Donald Trumps and the denial that there are two Donald Trumps, which came just minutes after agreeing that there are two Donald Trumps, may be the second Donald Trump simply asserting his own position.
Carson also spoke about the need for the Republican party to come together and to let the will of the people guide the nomination.
“What I’ve been seeing recently is political operatives… once again trying to assert themselves and trying to thwart the will of the people,” he said. “I find that to be an extraordinarily dangerous place right now.”
When asked about Trump’s attacks against him during his own campaign, Carson gracefully shrugged them off.
“They didn’t bother me that much at the time. I fully expected it,” Carson said. “When that happened, he was fighting to catch up, and sometimes when people are frightened they say foolish things.”
There are, Carson admitted, differences and “ideological incongruity on several issues,” but he said that he feels a connection and a solidarity with Trump. They are both “political outsiders” who have been held in contempt by so-called Republican establishment figures.
“Having myself felt the sting of the established group, when they [said] ‘no, no, no, we don’t want you,’ I totally understand what Trump is going through,” Carson said.
Both Trump and Carson floated the possibility of Carson playing a role in a potential Trump administration. Trump said he did not make any promises but pledged that Carson would play a “big, big part” in his administration. He praised Carson for his views on education and hinted that Carson would have a future place in that area.
Carson, in an interview with the Washington Post, said that he would enjoy being part of Trump’s “kitchen cabinet” and help him with policy matters.
“My real ideal now is to get involved in crafting policy that will save this country. Education, health-care reform — those are my two major issues,” Carson said. “I will be happy to help [Trump] and I will be making endorsements of other candidates running for office. And we’re going to establish a new [political-action committee], but we’re still chewing on various options.”
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images News]