LOS ANGELES, March 12, 2016—Last week at CPAC, Dr. Ben Carson announced he was suspending his campaign, but gave no indication that he planned to endorse any of his former rivals. He talked at length about his new role as national chair of “My Faith Votes,” a non-profit organization dedicated to mobilizing the 25 million evangelicals who did not vote in the 2012 election.
What a difference a week makes.
In a 180 from the debate stage, Carson and Donald Trump were all smiles and congeniality during a joint press conference at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where Carson endorsed him for president.
The news was already circulating before the Thursday night debate. Apparently no one, least of all Trump, was really interested in keeping it a secret. After Trump dropped Carson’s name as an endorser during the debate, my Twitter response was:
— Jennifer O O'Connell (@asthegirlturns) March 11, 2016
Let’s be honest: the majority of Carson’s support for president was due to his strong Christian views. It was attractive to evangelicals not only to have an outsider in the race but also to have someone who professed his desire to protect faith and family values. Unfortunately, for some who pledged their support, their idol has been shown to have feet of clay.
The aggregate site Twitchy compiled evidence of the disappointment registered from the Twitterverse. On Facebook as well, Carson’s page and the My Faith Votes page were not lacking people expressing their outrage.
One supporter wrote, “You gotta be kidding me! I supported you because you were supposedly everything Trump is not. He is not conservative. He is not a moral man. He has no ability to lead unless you would say leading us to war is leadership. Dr. Carson, you have disappointed a great many of your FORMER supporters. What a betrayal.”
Another commenter noted, “Not sure how the national chairman of a “non-partisan” non-profit organization can endorse the leading presidential candidate of a political (partisan) party… but carry on.”
Another commenter highlighted the fact that Carson’s endorsement effectively squandered any integrity or goodwill he had gained during his candidacy: “I’m very disappointed for what Dr Carson did, well now what we did doesn’t matter.”
Quin Hilyer of National Review excoriated Carson, calling his endorsement a disgrace: “Carson has spent an entire campaign pleading for honor and decency and decorum, only to endorse a man who is the crassest, most vulgar, most deceitful person in the race — a man who has repeatedly attacked in the most vicious ways, and lied about, every other candidate in the race.”
With recent allegations of a black protester being assaulted at one of Trump’s Florida rallies,and Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ being manhandled by Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski at yet another, Trump is adding demerits to his resumé, and the hits just keep coming. In Chicago on Friday night, the Black Lives Matter folks, along with Bernie Sanders supporters violently disrupted and shut down a Trump rally at University of Illinois, with BLM-Bernie protesters and Trump supporters squaring off.
But in his endorsement, Carson 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, sits there and considers things very carefully.”
When asked about the issue of Trump’s bullying and combative persona, Carson said the American people would be “comforted” when they discover his gentler side.
“That’s the Donald Trump that you’re going to start seeing more and more of right now,” Carson said.
Apparently, Carson examined Donald Trump’s “fruit salad” and found it appetizing. Many of his former supporters are doing the same thing and wondering about Carson’s taste in fruit.