Carson’s comeback to Trump’s insults: ‘Pray for him’

Trump likened Carson to a child molester during 95-minute rant in Iowa

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaking during a Liberty University Convocation in Virginia on Wednesday. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaking during a Liberty University Convocation in Virginia on Wednesday. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

 

US presidential candidate Ben Carson recommended praying for rival Donald Trump after the real estate mogul and television personality, in a 95-minute rant in Iowa, likened him to a child molester, Mr Carson’s business manager said on Friday.

“When I spoke with Dr Carson about this yesterday how we should respond, you know he was so sad about it. He said: ‘Pray for him’. He feels sorry for him because he really likes Mr. Trump,” Armstrong Williams, who often acts as Mr Carson’s surrogate in the media, told CNN.

“To see him just imploding before our very eyes – it’s just sad to watch,” Mr Williams said.

Speaking in Iowa on Thursday evening, Mr Trump, a leading contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election, cast doubt on Mr Carson’s oft-reported story of lunging at someone with a hunting knife as a child, an episode Mr Carson says led him to his Christian faith.

A retired neurosurgeon, Mr Carson has emerged as the main challenger to Mr Trump’s top position in national polls and popularity in early deciding states. A Reuters/Ipsos poll this month found 31 per cent of Republicans favoured Mr Trump. Mr Carson followed at 18 per cent.

“Give me a break,” Mr Trump said in his Thursday speech, where he also lashed out at other Republican candidates and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe that crap?”

He said the incident showed Mr Carson had a “pathological” temper. “If you’re pathological, there’s no cure for that,” Mr Trump said. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you.”

Mr Carson has said his intended stabbing victim’s belt buckle blocked his knife, a detail Mr Trump singled out in his rant. “Lo and behold! It hit the belt. It hit the belt and the knife broke,” Mr Trump said mockingly.

Other Republican candidates came to Mr Carson’s defence early Friday and slammed Mr Trump for his controversial plans on foreign policy and immigration.

“Anyone can turn a multimillion dollar inheritance into more money, but all the money in the world won’t make you as smart as Ben Carson,” candidate Carly Fiorina wrote on Facebook.

Republican candidate Lindsey Graham called Mr Carson a “good, decent man,” and said of Mr Trump: “I think he melted down last night.”

“He has no clue what he’s talking about,” Mr Graham, a South Carolina senator, said on Fox News. “Over time, that will take a toll – I hope.” – (Reuters)