The top two GOP candidates, at least for the moment, are billionaire businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Trump has been on top of the polls for a while, and Carson has only recently risen. But unlike past top GOP pollers, Carson is not picking a fight with Trump. That, however, does not appear to have stopped Trump from taking swipes at Carson.
It appeared as though the two would have a mutual feud only a week ago when Carson made comments about Trump’s faith. In perhaps this cycle’s most mild-mannered “attack,” Carson was asked what major difference he sees between himself and Trump.
“Probably the biggest thing — I’ve realized where my success has come from and I don’t in anyway deny my faith in God,” Carson replied. Adding, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life and that’s a very big part of who I am. I don’t get that impression with him [Trump]. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t get that.”
Trump quickly responded.
Wow, I am ahead of the field with Evangelicals (am so proud of this) and virtually every other group, and Ben Carson just took a swipe at me
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2015
Trump even went so far as to claim the world-famous neurosurgeon, who was the first in history to separate twins conjoined at the head, was just “an OK doctor.” (RELATED: Trump: Ben Carson Makes Jeb Bush Look Like ‘The Energizer Bunny’)
Unlike Jeb Bush and other GOP candidates, Carson did not then engage in a tit-for-tat with Trump, he simply apologized.
“I said something that sounded like I was questioning his faith,” Mr. Carson told reporters. “I really wasn’t. I was really talking more about mine. But it was said in an inappropriate way, which I recognized, and I apologized for that. It’s never my intention to impugn other people.”
Trump, not one to let things go, did accept Carson’s apology, but in a very “Trump” way.
“You don’t hit a person on faith,” Trump told supporters in Iowa. “I don’t know him. He knows nothing about me. I’m protestant, I’m Presbyterian, I believe strongly, believe in the Bible strongly. But he hit me on my faith. No, I believe strongly. You don’t hit a person on faith. And he was nice enough to apologize.”
Trump then proceeded to tell the crowd that Carson, who performed surgeries that have lasted days, “I don’t think Ben has the energy” to be president. (RELATED: Donald Trump On Ben Carson: Doctors Don’t Create Jobs)
“Ben is a nice man,” Trump added, “but when you’re negotiating against China and you’re negotiating against these Japanese guys that are going to come against you in waves, and they think we’re all a bunch of jerks ’cause our leaders are so stupid and so incompetent and so inept, we need people that are really smart, that have tremendous deal-making skills and that have great, great energy.”
Carson is known for his unflappable calmness and mild-manners, which some take as being of low-energy.
A very measured man, Carson appears to have learned from watching his fellow GOP candidates get into fights with Trump only to sink in the polls as Donald rose. Asked if his apology for appearing to question Trump’s faith will put an end to the sniping, Carson answered simply “it will depend on what kind of person he is,” ending with “I guess we’ll find out.”
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” host Martha Raddatz asked Carson if he was specifically targeting Trump supporters, hoping to win them over. Carson replied he was “not specifically going after Trump supporters, I’m going after everybody in America.” (RELATED: Roger Stone: A Trump/Carson Ticket Would Be ‘Very Strong’)
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 13, 2015