- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 10, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson looks like he’s already trying to cool a potential war of words between himself and 2016 GOP rival Donald Trump, but Mr. Trump said Thursday that Mr. Carson “started it” and “I like to finish it.”

“Well, I think so,” Mr. Trump said via phone on ABC’s “The View” when asked if the gloves have come off between himself and Mr. Carson, who has largely shied away from criticizing Mr. Trump thus far in the GOP primary race.

“I think he started it, so remember, I like to finish it,” Mr. Trump said, alluding to other GOP rivals who have tried to come after him. “It’s happened five times now, and every one of those people went down.”

On Wednesday at an appearance in California, Mr. Carson had been asked how he was different than Mr. Trump and said he has realized where his success has come from “and I don’t in any way deny my faith in God.”

By way of explanation, Mr. Carson then quoted a Bible verse: “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 — humility and fear of the Lord.”

“I don’t get that impression with him,” Mr. Carson said. “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t get that impression.”

Mr. Trump has subsequently teed off on Mr. Carson during call-in appearances on Thursday morning television shows, telling CNN’s “New Day” earlier that Mr. Carson was an “OK doctor” and that he makes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “look like the Energizer bunny.”

“He talked about my faith. He doesn’t know me. I hardly know this guy other than he goes to my club in Palm Beach, I mean, I literally hardly know him,” Mr. Trump said on “The View.” “But you know, in all fairness, I don’t know so much about his faith.”

“All of a sudden, he became a man of great faith. I didn’t notice this four or five years ago,” Mr. Trump said. “He should not be questioning somebody else’s faith when he knows nothing about that person, because I really don’t know Ben Carson, and he certainly doesn’t know me.”

“By the way, I’m killing him in all the polls,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr. Trump was indeed first in a CNN/ORC poll on the 2016 GOP race released Thursday at 32 percent, with Mr. Carson in second place at 19 percent.

After Mr. Trump’s CNN appearance and before his ABC appearance, Mr. Carson was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that he isn’t going to be drawn into a fight with Mr. Trump and that it was a misunderstanding.

“I would like to say to him that the intention was not to talk to him but about what motivates me,” Mr. Carson said. “If he took that as a personal attack on him, I apologize. It was certainly not the intent.”

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