Ben Carson will endorse Donald Trump, two anonymous sources “familiar with his thinking” told the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa. The sources say Carson will announce this bombshell at a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago Club, a Trump-owned luxury club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday morning.
The endorsement was finalized when Carson met with Trump at the club Thursday morning, sources say. Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, confirmed that he met Trump on Thursday but declined to comment further. A Trump campaign spokesman also declined to comment about the endorsement, and would not mention the meeting either.
On Fox News Radio Thursday, Carson said he is “certainly leaning” toward a candidate and praised The Donald.
There’s 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. One’s very much an entertainer, and one is actually a thinking individual.
This assessment of Trump’s character sounds exactly like the explanation the humble and religious Carson would need to endorse a man so maligned for his bombastic eccentricities. Such an endorsement has been rumored at ever since Carson gave signs of the end of his campaign before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). After he decided not to participate in the last Republican debate, rumors swirled that he would pull out and endorse Trump at that conference. The drop-out happened — the Trump endorsement did not.
In that report, PJ Media explained that Carson was unlikely to endorse Cruz, whom Carson considers “untrustworthy.” After Marco Rubio’s weak showing in most primaries and caucuses — more often behind Trump and Cruz than ahead of them — Carson may be discounting him as well.
Sources close to Carson have told Independent Journal Review‘s Benny Johnson that Donald Trump would most likely receive the endorsement. “Trump was contacting Dr. Carson regularly during the campaign and remains in contact,” a former Carson staffer told him. “The chance of Ben jumping onboard with Trump is very real.”
Today’s news seems to confirm that endorsement. Such a move would be the ultimate rebuke to Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who have consistently been outspoken about their faith. When Carson pulled out of the race at CPAC, he announced the formation of “Faith Votes,” a non-profit aimed at encouraging evangelical Christians to vote. By endorsing Trump — a man who is notorious for saying he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness — Carson may give him further legitimacy among evangelicals, despite many faith leaders attacking the real estate tycoon.
While Trump has won evangelicals in most states that have exit polls, there are signs that his support is limited to Christians who do not attend church weekly. Carson’s support may turn that around, much to the chagrin of evangelical leaders.
— Tyler O’Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) March 4, 2016