- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2015

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he didn’t mean to impugn anyone’s religious beliefs with comments earlier in the week about GOP rival Donald Trump and he doesn’t want to get into the “mud pit.”

During an appearance on Thursday evening’s “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, Mr. Carson said it “was not my intention to impugn anybody’s religious beliefs.”

“Well basically, I’m talking primarily about myself and the fact that I am a very faith-based person, and I don’t in any way deny that the success that I’ve had is because of my faith and my walk with the Lord,” Mr. Carson said. “That probably differentiates me from a lot of people. It wasn’t meant as a personal attack.”

Asked in California earlier in the week how he was different from Mr. Trump, Mr. Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, said he realized where his success has come from, “and I don’t in any way deny my faith in God.”

He 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 subsequently hit back at Mr. Carson.

“I don’t know him, he doesn’t know me. Why would he attack my faith?” Mr. Trump said Thursday on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” “I thought that was a terrible thing. I don’t attack people’s faith when I don’t know somebody, and I wouldn’t attack it anyway. So I thought it was very inappropriate that he did that, and I thought it was nasty so I let people know how I feel.”

Mr. Carson, though, said he really doesn’t want to “get into the mud pit.”

“That’s not in my nature, and I know that the media frequently loves to stoke up these things,” he said.

Asked if he believes Mr. Trump is a “divider,” Mr. Carson said he’s “not going to go there.”

“I believe that what we have to do is extend to the people what a divisive person is and let them decide who belongs there,” he said.

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