A top adviser to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson laid out to Business Insider on Wednesday why Carson now sees “no path forward” toward the Republican presidential nomination.
Carson announced Wednesday that he would not attend the Thursday-night Republican debate, but he stopped short of formally dropping out of the race.
That seems like the inevitable conclusion, however, after a disappointing showing in the Super Tuesday contests. Carson did not win a single state, and he took home only three additional delegates.
“I’ve always said that March 2 was D-Day,” Armstrong Williams, Carson’s longtime business manager who is not officially affiliated with the campaign, told Business Insider on Wednesday.
He continued: “I think they were hoping that from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina the voters would” show the campaign that there is a pathway forward to the nomination, but “it did not happen.”
With Carson failing to win any state primaries or caucuses, “there isn’t much to argue with,” Williams said.
Carson will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Friday, when he is expected to formally drop out of the race. Williams said Carson would will likely move forward by looking for advocacy work and speaking roles, Williams said.
But first, Carson wants to say “everything that he needs to say on his own terms,” Williams said.
After the Super Tuesday contests, real-estate mogul Donald Trump is now the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination. He won seven states Tuesday. His other rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, won three states and one state, respectively.
“There’s no pathway forward [for Carson], so why occupy space,” Williams said. “… Truth be told, there’s no pathway for Cruz or Rubio either, but we’re just continuing to play this drama series out.”
Williams said that Carson always stuck to his principles throughout the race. He explained:
This process is not really for gentlemen and for diplomats and for nice guys and guys who don’t ridicule and savage each other. That’s just not who he is. And after San Bernardino and Paris [terror attacks], people were looking for a war president. Almost someone who’s going to say, ‘We will build walls, we will not allow any of them in this country’ … saying the things that gave people the impression that you were strong. It was volume over virtue. And Dr. Carson believes in virtue over volume.
Carson also refused to play “dirty politics,” Williams said.
“Look at Rubio — he thinks that his only chance at taking out Trump is talking about his private parts?” Williams asked. “What is he doing? It’s just crazy. It’s scary though, it’s really scary.”
He continued: “This is why [Carson] can exit the stage at this late stage with his credibility intact … He never compromised his principles and who he was as an individual. A human first.”
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