Ben Carson breaks with Trump in heated Alabama Senate race

The heated Alabama special election took another turn on Friday, as Ben Carson, President Donald Trump’s housing secretary, broke with Trump on the race, issuing a statement of support for Roy Moore over Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange.

Trump has publicly endorsed Strange for the seat and was set to appear at a rally for Strange in Alabama on Friday..

Carson praised Moore, who served as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, calling Moore “a fine man of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years.”

Carson lauded what he called Moore’s “Judeo-Christian values,” and said “it is these values we must return to in order to make America great again,” borrowing from Trump’s own campaign slogan.

The statement came just hours before Trump was scheduled to attend a rally for Strange in Alabama. Strange, who served as Alabama’s attorney general and is now a junior senator in the state, is fighting to keep the Senate seat he has occupied since his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, left to serve as US attorney general in the Trump administration.

Several other top Trump supporters have also gone in the opposite direction of the president on the Alabama special election, including Sarah Palin and Republican former Sen. Jim DeMint. The only major backer of Trump’s 2016 election campaign who also endorsed Strange is the National Rifle Association, Business Insider’s Joe Perticone reported earlier Friday.

The Alabama special-election runoff between Moore and Strange kicks off on Tuesday.

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