Ben Carson: Why yes, I have been promised a position in the Trump administration

Via Newsmax, could be merely an advisory position, could be something more. Steve Malzberg asks him at one point in the first clip below if a cabinet position is in the offing. Carson says merely that they’re still working on details. Maybe Secretary of Education?


David Graham wonders: Uh, isn’t this illegal? 18 U.S. Code § 599:

Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

No doubt politicians across the spectrum “purchase” endorsements every day with promises like this, but most of them have the good sense not to admit it publicly. I suppose, if the feds come snooping around wanting to know what the arrangement here is, Carson will insist that he pledged his endorsement to Trump first and was then offered a position. It wasn’t a purchase, see. It was merely an exchange of … gifts. Whatever the excuse, it’s impossible to imagine a prosecution. A Trump/Clinton race would, if nothing else, be a shining illustration that no law can stop rich people from seeking political power.

Caleb Howe notes another bit from this same interview:

CARSON: I have to look at what is practical and what is going to save this country and the American dream for the next generation. Is there another scenario that I would have preferred? Yes. But that scenario isn’t available.

MALZBERG: With one of the other candidates you mean?



It takes a special surrogate indeed to all but admit that he’d have preferred to back another candidate. Howe treats that as further evidence that Carson’s support was purchased by Trump. Could be, but I remember reading somewhere recently (can’t find the link, alas) that Trump and Rubio were both quietly competing for Carson’s endorsement behind the scenes. Rubio would have been a better match temperamentally and philosophically, as they’re both soft-spoken and both devout Christians. But Rubio’s campaign is circling the drain; Carson admitted a few days ago that it was pointless to endorse him or Kasich since neither has a path. If Rubio were in a position to win Florida today and revive his campaign, maybe Carson would have gone his way. He isn’t.

Which raises the question: With Rubio and Kasich off the table and Team Carson at odds with Cruz over his “dirty trick” in Iowa, why did Trump offer Carson anything for his endorsement? He was Carson’s only option, by process of elimination. Makes me wonder if Trump’s landed any major endorsement thus far without promising something in return. His most prominent supporter is Chris Christie — and it’s not just Republicans who are wondering about that:

The subject quickly turned to Christie, and Clinton wondered: “Why did he support him?”

Matthews explained that Christie and others who support Trump “want a future” politically.

“Did he have a debt?” Clinton mused.

Matthews added that New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, “isn’t going anywhere,” which leaves Christie “nowhere” to go in New Jersey politics.


Could be, or it could be that Trump did some sort of favor for Christie in the past and the bill finally came due. Pam Bondi, the attorney general of Florida, endorsed Trump yesterday; as it happens, a PAC she controlled received a $25,000 donation from Trump in 2013, right around the time several victims of Trump University complained to her office about what had happened to them. She didn’t investigate. Huh.

As a Twitter pal said this morning, Trump’s probably promised the VP slot to 15 different people at this point. Here’s Carson talking about his forthcoming role in a Trump administration followed by a second clip of him saying that he thinks Trump will be a good president — but even if he isn’t, we only have to put up with him for four years, right? Maybe Rubio should be glad this guy didn’t endorse him.

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