Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday that retired neurosurgeon and 2016 GOP rival Ben Carson was “pro-abortion” not too long ago, as he grapples with Mr. Carson’s recent rise in some of the polling on the 2016 GOP presidential race.
Asked about Mr. Carson rise in Iowa, where he has overtaken Mr. Trump in the latest RealClearPolitics average, the billionaire businessman said he doesn’t get it.
“You look at different things having to do with Ben and there’s a lot of contradiction and a lot of questions. We’ll have to see,” Mr. Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “One thing I know about a front-runner — you get analyzed 15 different ways from China, and a lot of things will come out.”
“You know, like Ben was — he was pro-abortion not so long ago, as everybody has told me, I don’t know it personally, but that’s what … I’ve been told,” Mr. Trump said. “And all of a sudden he’s so hard on abortion, under no circumstances, virtually, can there be exceptions. And you say, well how does that happen where you’re pro — not long ago, by the way — and then all of a sudden you can’t even have exceptions. So that’s [an] unusual stance and I think people will look at that and they’ll look at lots of others things, including what happened in hospitals and what he was working on, and a lot of things I hear. I just don’t actually get it.”
“But I give credit, but I don’t get it,” Mr. Trump said.
A Carson campaign spokesman said Mr. Carson’s pro-life credentials are “well chronicled” and that Mr. Trump’s assessment is incorrect.
During an August appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Carson said he makes no bones about the fact that he used to be a Democrat.
“I used to be a pretty left-wing Democrat, in fact,” the retired doctor said. “Over the course of time, my views have changed very dramatically.”
“In 1992, I personally was against abortion, but I was not for causing anybody else to do anything,” Mr. Carson said. “I was pro-choice in that region.”
That was a reference to a push on a ballot initiative involving abortion in Maryland that he had become involved with, before later telling people not to vote one way or the other but to simply educate themselves.
“I’ve changed because I’ve learned a lot of things,” Mr. Carson said. “And I [began] to think about, if abolitionists a long time ago had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, but anybody else can do it if they want to,’ where would we be today? So, that changed my opinion of a lot of things.”