Four years ago, around this time in the 2012 presidential race, Mitt Romney had a problem: his high-profile campaign surrogates didn’t seem to care for him. It became something of a running joke after many of the Republicans tasked with singing Romney’s praises struggled to show any affection or enthusiasm for their presidential candidate.
Soon after endorsing Romney, Marco Rubio, for example, said, “There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president – but they didn’t.” Then-House Speaker John Boehner conceded at the time, “The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney.” My personal favorite was former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis, who told a national television audience, “He may not be Mr. Personality. You know, he’s the guy who gives the fireside chat and the fire goes out.” There were many, many others.
This year, Donald Trump has his own notable supporters who the campaign dispatches to talk up his candidacy. Among the highest profile campaign surrogates for Team Trump is former rival Ben Carson – who was a terrible candidate, but who’s an even worse ally.
BuzzFeed reported yesterday on a recent radio interview in which Carson talked to conservative host Krista Kafer, who has said she won’t support Trump under any circumstances. Carson seemed sympathetic to her position.
“For me, it’s about the children and the grandchildren,” said Carson. “If it was just me, I would be completely where Krista is. I would say, ‘Hey, I got this, I can deal with it,’ but for them, I can’t.”Earlier, when Kafer said Trump was a bad man, Carson said we all are. “Who isn’t? Who among us isn’t?” asked Carson.
Remember, the reason Carson makes media appearances like these is to persuade the public to support Trump – who enjoys Carson’s backing for reasons Carson can’t seem to explain.
This interview was hardly an isolated incident. Last month, Carson suggested Trump might be a horrible president, but worst case scenario, he’d only be in office for four years. Carson has also called Trump’s poll support “horrible” and his candidacy has “major defects.”
Last week brought this gem:
Carson quickly stuck his foot in it during an appearance on At This Hour, after host John Berman asked him if Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski should be “running the show” after he allegedly grabbed a female reporter and was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery.“Well I mean a lot of people have been charged with various things. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to demonize them,” Carson said. Then, addressing Berman directly, he added: “You’ve probably been charged with something too, maybe with a misdemeanor or something. It doesn’t mean that you’re an evil, horrible person.”“I actually haven’t, as far as I know,” Berman replied, looking stunned.
Towards the end of that CNN interview, Carson said, “[M]y role, quite frankly, is to try to help.”
Really? This is Carson trying to help make the case for Trump’s future presidency?
I’m not sure which part of this story is the bigger mystery: why Carson supports Trump or why the Trump campaign continues to allow Carson to appear in the media on behalf of the Republican frontrunner.