CHARLESTON, S.C. — Sen. Ted Cruz and Ben Carson reportedly met privately in a storage closet Thursday night in Greenville to try and cool relations between the two campaigns ahead of the primary here. But the clandestine meeting allegedly did not go well.
Cruz called the meeting, The Daily Beast reports, to smooth over what has been a contentious public spat with the Carson campaign ever since the Iowa caucus. Carson accused Cruz of using dirty campaign tactics after one of Cruz’s staffers saw a CNN report and told voters Carson was dropping out of the race right before voting started in Iowa. (RELATED: ‘This Is Horsesh*t’ — Carson Camp Accuses Cruz Of Foul Play In Iowa)
The meeting, which the Carson campaign confirmed to The Beast, took place prior to the Conservative Review convention and lasted nearly 25 minutes despite Carson only agreeing to five minutes, a source said. It took so long Carson was late to his speaking arrangement during the convention.
“We weren’t going to comment to the press on it, but it seems pretty clear that the other party involved had a different agenda,” Jason Osborne, a spokesperson for Carson’s campaign told The Beast. “How else could we perceive that to be?”
Osborne said that “the meeting did not go well” and was on short notice, so he didn’t have time to prepare Carson.
The former neurosurgeon reportedly told Cruz “we agree to disagree.” As Carson put it, “we disagree on accountability and culpability,” according to Osborne.
The meeting apparently had no chairs and it’s even unclear if the lights were on in the closet as Secret Service waited outside.
After speaking to the convention, Carson crossed paths with Cruz in a hallway, and the Texas senator reportedly didn’t even look at Carson, his campaign said.
But Cruz’s campaign characterized the meeting in a different light. “They had a good visit,” Rick Tyler, a Cruz spokesman, told The Beast.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio have both heavily criticized Cruz for dirty campaign tricks. Trump has reiterated that Cruz is “a liar” and earlier in the week Rubio decried the Cruz campaign for photoshopping a picture of him gleefully shaking hands with President Obama. (RELATED: Cruz Uses Fake Photo Of Rubio And Obama; Rubio Camp Decries ‘Dishonest Tactics’)
The 2016 Committee, a PAC supporting Carson, has used Cruz’s lies as a fundraising ploy, as The Beast notes. (RELATED: Cruz Campaign Admits It Hurt Carson With False Dropout Claims)