FORT DODGE, Iowa — Donald Trump went on a tirade Thursday night.
A few hours after claiming that Republican rival Ben Carson has an incurable “pathological temper” and comparing it to something else he says is incurable — “child molesting” — Trump escalated the battle, devoting over ten minutes of his rally to attacking the former neurosurgeon’s personal narrative.
“He wrote a book and in the book, he said terrible things about himself,” Trump said of Carson. “He said that he’s pathological and he’s got basically pathological disease … I don’t want a person that’s got pathological disease.”Trump first compared the two conditions on CNN and repeated them to a 1,500-person crowd at Iowa Central Community College: “I said that if you’re a child molester, a sick puppy, a child molester, there’s no cure for that – there’s only one cure and we don’t want to talk about that cure, that’s the ultimate cure. No there’s two, there’s death and the other thing. But if you’re a child molester, there’s no cure, they can’t stop you. Pathological, there’s no cure.”
Then there was the role playing.
Stepping back from the podium, the billionaire real estate mogul mimicked for the audience the way Carson alleges the stabbing of his friend occurred: That the friend’s belt thwarted any physical harm that may have been done.
But Trump doesn’t buy that line.
“I have a belt. If someone hits, you not going in, it moves this way, it moves that way, he hit the belt buckle,” he said as he showed his belt buckle.
Trump even asked the crowd if they wanted to “try it” on him because “believe me, it ain’t going to work.”
Trump’s story continued: “And he plunged it into the belt and amazingly the belt stayed totally flat and the knife broke.”
Trump then plunged a rhetorical knife of his own into the Iowa crowd: “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”
Not atypical of Trump, he didn’t just have barbs for Carson. Trump also punched at the GOP’s favorite target, Hillary Clinton.
But he went further than his fellow Republicans saying: “She’s playing the woman card. Outside of the woman card, she’s got nothing going.”
The GOP front-runner also had words for President Obama, specifically his administration’s accomplishment of killing Osama bin Laden.
“Pretend anybody is president,” Trump said as he set the stage for the theoretical circumstance. “These great guys come in, general, ‘Mr President, we have Osama bin Laden. So we have a choice, we can leave him alone Mr. President, or we can take him and bomb the hell out of him.’
“Who’s gonna say leave him alone?” Trump exclaimed, intimating that the decision to go in was a no-brainer. “Is there anybody that would say it?”
Asked Thursday night to respond to Trump’s comparison to child molesters, a Carson spokesman wrote, “The campaign has no comment.”
As he wrapped up, it seemed the tired Trump, who was in his fourth state in four days, accepted that the barbs may not be what the crowd wanted to hear — or that he didn’t care.
“I may leave here and you may say, ‘Oh that’s not nice what he said.’ Who cares? Then, you know, I go back to my life, I don’t have to do interviews, which I don’t like doing to be honest with you. I can leave the press alone, they’re scum.”
Moments seemed to stun the crowd, but Trump never lost them, many laughing at his jokes and excitedly rushing to the stage for the chance at a selfie, hand shake, or up-close glimpse of the man still leading many of the Iowa polls.
As they left, one woman said of the evening, and specifically the Carson comments: “I’m still processing it.”
Update, 11:20 a.m.: Donald Trump doubled down on his new line of attack against Carson on Friday morning, tweeting a link to an Instagram video showing archival footage of Carson describing how he stabbed his friend. The video then cuts to a CNN report showing one of Carson’s friends suggesting the story doesn’t fit with the man he knew. The final words in the Instagram video read: “Violent criminal or pathological liar? We don’t need either as president.”