Real-estate mogul Donald Trump reportedly took his criticism of presidential rival Ben Carson’s “pathological” temper to the next level during a Thursday interview on CNN.
The network’s Erin Burnett reported that Trump “likened the situation to a child molester” when she spoke to him earlier in the day.
“If you’re a child molester, you can’t be cured. And if you’re as pathological as Ben Carson describes himself, you cannot be cured,” Trump reportedly told Burnett, who previewed their interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper before it airs at 7 p.m.
Tapper was surprised.
“He used the term ‘child molester?'” Tapper asked.
“Yes, he termed the term ‘child molester’ specifically,” Burnett replied. “He brought it up. He said, ‘Look, child molesters, you can’t cure, right? If you’re pathological, you can’t be cured.’ So he did, yes, completely make that analogy.”
Trump was reportedly referring to Carson’s memoir, “Gifted Hands,” in which the retired neurosurgeon and top-tier Republican candidate described a series of violent incidents, including attacking his mother and trying to stab a friend.
In recent days, Trump has repeatedly homed in on the part of the book in which Carson wrote, “I had what I only can label a pathological temper — a disease — and this sickness controlled me, making me totally irrational.” Carson said he later had an epiphany and became the famously soft-spoken man he is today.
But in four back-to-back Sunday-show interviews, Trump described Carson’s described “pathological disease” as incurable. Trump has also marveled at Carson for defending the accuracy of his violent-episodes accounts in the face of media scrutiny.
“He said he has ‘pathological disease’ in the book,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.” “When you have pathological disease, that’s a very serious problem because that’s not something that’s cured. That’s something that you have to live with. And that’s a very serious thing to have to live with.”
Watch Burnett preview her interview with Trump below:
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