Ben Carson defends Trump: Being nice and respectful and talking about the real issues gets you nowhere

The key bit, in which Carson captures the entire Republican primary in one line, comes around halfway through the first clip below. Try to imagine a skilled surrogate like, say, Carly Fiorina defending Cruz’s electoral success this year by suggesting he was smart enough to realize that being civil and sounding like you know what you’re talking about are a one-way ticket to political oblivion. And why, of all people, would Ben Carson endorse someone like that? His campaign slogan was “Heal. Inspire. Revive.” His candidacy was based on the idea of him as an inspirational figure who’d somehow, through sheer leadership, bring the country to a nobler place. Now he’s stuck shrugging off questions about Trump’s nastier bon mots about women over the years. W-w-w-what?

The second clip is just to give you a sense of how tough this morning’s interview on “The View” was for him — so much so that Trump himself couldn’t wait for the show to end before chiming in:

Whoopi comes after him hard about Trump’s white-nationalist fan base. Carson puts up some resistance, rightly noting Trump’s opposition to segregated clubs, but when she persists and asks why a black icon of all people would endorse a guy like Trump, he’s left saying, “What’s the alternative?” Um. Behar then comes at him over Trump attacking Carson last fall over his youthful temper, comparing it to the pathological impulse a child molester might feel. Doesn’t it bother you that he’d lie like that about you, she asks? Carson’s reply: “Tell me a politician who doesn’t tell lies.” Maybe Carson’s problem is that he’s too honest to be an effective surrogate. On paper, he’s ideal — extremely likable, highly respected in his field, living proof that whatever the media might tell you, Trump’s appeal does extend beyond the white working class. In reality, while he’s game to try to defend his candidate, there’s no avoiding the impression here that he really would have preferred to endorse someone else in the primary. Oh well. He’s probably still the best high-profile surrogate Trump has, now that Chris Christie’s suddenly and mysteriously gotten very camera-shy indeed.

David Strom 4:41 PM on September 26, 2022