Dr. Ben Carson hits the hustings with Donald Trump

Mar 11, 2016 | News

Jeremy Appel

Famed neurosurgeon and failed Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has endorsed businessman Donald Trump for president.

Carson, speaking at a news conference in West Palm Beach Florida Friday morning, said there are “two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage and there’s the one who’s very cerebral, (who) 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 right now,” said Carson.

Afterwards Trump said he would like Carson to play a role in education and health care in a hypothetical Trump administration, given his vast experience in the two fields.

Relationship wasn’t always rosy

Trump had previously labeled Carson “pathological,” alluding to purported anger issues and likening him to a child molester.

“It’s politics. It’s tough stuff,” Trump said in response to a question about his aggressive personal attacks against the neurosurgeon. “A lot of things happen in politics that don’t happen anywhere else. We understand that.”

“We’ve buried the hatchet,” Carson agreed. “It’s political stuff that happens in American politics. The politics of personal destruction … is not something that I particularly believe in or anything that I get involved in. But I recognize that’s part of the process.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about Mr. Trump. It’s about America,” said Carson.

Carson is not the first failed GOP presidential candidate to endorse The Donald. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has also given support to Trump since dropping out of the race.

Carson’s collapse

Carson was initially tied with Trump near the top of presidential polls, but fell from grace as details of his famed autobiography Gifted Hands were brought into question.

Specifically, Carson claimed when he was 14 he tried to stab a friend of his, but was blocked by a belt buckle that broke the knife in half. This figured prominently in the narrative as a turning point in his religious awakening.

“I stared at the broken blade and went weak. I had almost killed him. I had almost killed my friend,” he wrote in Gifted Hands, which was made into a movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carson.

CNN spoke with a number of Carson’s former colleagues from his native Detroit. None were aware of any violent incidents from his past.

Carson was widely ridiculed when he was asked what he would look for in any potential Supreme Court nominee and responded with “the fruit salad of their lives.”


Carson didn’t win a single primary or caucus, placing far behind Trump and Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in every race.

“He didn’t have a well-organized team and it’s really clear in retrospect he never had his head in the game as far as building a proper campaign to win primaries,” Brian Bow, professor of political science at Dalhousie University, told Humber News.

“They raised quite a bit of money and a fairly solid national profile, but they didn’t have any idea about how to win delegates in any of the states once the primary process started.”

Carson collected a total of 8 delegates for July’s party convention in Cleveland. By contrast, Trump has 459. The victor needs 1,237 delegates to secure the nomination.

Carson’s endorsement “might conceivably make a small difference” if the race is tight going into Cleveland, but Carson’s evangelical base of support has largely defected to the Cruz camp, Bow added.

A representative of the Carson Scholars Fund, which the neurosurgeon set up to promote literacy, declined to comment when asked about his endorsement of Trump.