Ben Carson: I think Trump's starting to recognize that there's a greater power

“Starting”? How many times does Trump need to prove to skeptics of his devotion that he’s the real deal? He’s said he likes the Bible more than “The Art of the Deal,” hasn’t he? He’s referenced “Two Corinthians.” He’s talked about eating the “little cracker” in church. He’s even cited a favorite Bible passage — “an eye for an eye,” just like any devout Christian would. Granted, he’s said he can’t remember ever asking God for forgiveness. But as Carson himself notes: Nobody’s perfect.

Skip to -8:50 of the clip for the key bit. The fact that Trump isn’t religious and has done little to disguise that fact is one of the few things I like about him and arguably the most amazing achievement of his nomination. Liberal Republicans from the northeast were supposed to be DOA in primaries because they can’t pass the southern base’s moral litmus tests. The playboy Trump, twice divorced and uninterested in learning the political vernacular of conservative Christians well enough to even semi-convincingly “pass,” nonetheless stomped outspoken evangelical Ted Cruz from South Carolina to Alabama. The fact that Carson can’t acknowledge that but instead has to reach for some sort of conversion storyline to justify Trump’s nomination reminds me of the people who insist that Christopher Hitchens simply must have made a death-bed lunge towards Christianity. It’s too much for some devout believers to conceive that someone they like and respect, and who has influence over others, doesn’t share the values that motivate them.

“I know that he has prayed. I have eyewitness,” Carson said in a Facebook Live interview.

Asked whether he had personally seen Trump pray, the retired neurosurgeon, who is a man of deep Christian faith, conceded he had only heard about Trump praying.

“I have not seen him [pray] but I have eyewitnesses who have,” Carson said. “And I think he’s starting to move more in that direction. I think that’s a good thing.

“I think he’s starting to recognize that there’s a greater power. And I tell him, just last week, that I believe God is using him.”

Will his journey towards recognizing a greater power continue if it turns out God wants Hillary Clinton to be president instead, or does the existence of this greater power more or less turn on whether Carson is right that God is using Trump? Trump’s attitude towards friends and enemies is that he who aids Trump is Good while he who doesn’t is Bad, whatever their other vices and virtues might be. Maybe the rules for God are different.

Keep watching here at least until -7:25, when Carson segues from talking about how well-liked Trump is by people who know him to volunteering that a physician friend told him recently that he got rich thanks to, er, Trump University. Why Carson would want to introduce that subject into any conversation about Trump’s good character is unfathomable, especially now that Trump’s taking flak for going after the judge in the case on the stump. Carson’s gonna Carson, I guess.