- The Washington Times - Friday, March 11, 2016

PALM BEACH, Florida — Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson have mended whatever discrepancies they had on the campaign trail, with Mr. Carson formally endorsing the business mogul on Friday in Palm Beach.

Mr. Carson said he entered the presidential race because of the will of the people, and warned about Republican Party leaders trying to divide the party and its voters.

“It’s all about the people, not about the Republican Party or the Democratic Party,” Mr. Carson said during the press conference. “What I have been seeing recently is political operatives trying to assert themselves and thwart the will of the people — that’s a dangerous place to be right now.”

Mr. Carson warned about the so-called “Never Trump” campaign and called for the GOP to unite behind Mr. Trump.

“We’re going off a cliff. A house divided against itself cannot stand,” Mr. Carson said.

Mr. Trump said that Mr. Carson has become a friend, and they worked out their differences in private meetings. Both said the animosity between the two was just “politics.”

“We buried the hatchet, it was a political stunt, and it happens in American politics,” Mr. Carson said of Mr. Trump’s attacks on the campaign trail. “It’s not something I believe in or get involved in, but I do recognize it’s a part of the process. But we moved on because it’s not about me, it’s not about Mr. Trump, it’s about America.”

Mr. Trump said he agreed with Mr. Carson in his characterization that there are two Donald Trumps, one that the public sees and another one in private, where he’s more of a “thinker.” Mr. Carson said Mr. Trump was more cerebral and reasonable in private than his public persona. Mr. Trump said he would rely on Mr. Carson’s expertise in health care and education.

Although the two said no deal was struck in terms of the endorsement, Mr. Carson said he would be willing to serve in a Trump administration.

“We have not talked specifically about a role other than being involved and helping formulate policies and helping to try to make American great,” Mr. Carson said. “It is great, but it’s nowhere near as great as it can be.”

When asked about why he chose Mr. Trump to give his endorsement, and not Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Mr. Carson said only Mr. Trump could change the way Washington works.

Mr. Trump is willing to do what needs to be done to break the stranglehold of special interest groups and the political class,” Mr. Carson said. He added he held no animosity against the Cruz campaign and had “completely forgiven” them for spreading rumors in Iowa that he had dropped out of the race.

“I’ve completely forgiven him. That’s a duty one has as a Christian,” Mr. Carson said.

Mr. Carson’s endorsement marks the second large get for Mr. Trump after notching New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s support last month. Mr. Christie has been largely mocked for supporting the business mogul, with some interpreting his endorsement as political opportunism.

While on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump compared Mr. Carson to a “child molester” and questioned the truthfulness of his biography and his religion. At the time, Mr. Carson was climbing the polls and posed a threat to Mr. Trump in Iowa.

“The one person who kept sneaking up on me, and I couldn’t lose him was Dr. Ben Carson,” Mr. Trump explained of his attacks. “I said this guy is unbelievable, so I started going after him. I was really impressed with the way he fought back, because he fought back with silence and strength. He’s the one person, I couldn’t lose him. I couldn’t shake him.”

In terms of his debate performance Thursday night, Mr. Trump said he was pleased and thought it was an “elegant debate.” However, he said the American people have grown tired of the many debates and called for a stop to them.

“I think we’ve had enough debates,” Mr. Trump said, referring that the only people who want them are the broadcast networks, who are making a fortune off of the advertising.

Mr. Trump didn’t commit to being at the next Republican debate, which will be held in Salt Lake City on March 21. He said he’d be more willing to attend if the proceeds of the event were dedicated to veterans and wounded warriors groups.

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