Real-estate mogul Donald Trump repeatedly bashed presidential rival Ben Carson on Wednesday and Thursday over what he called a “devastating” New York Times report.
The Times story quoted a “top” Carson adviser, Duane Clarridge, casting doubt on Carson’s foreign-policy knowledge.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” Clarridge told the paper of Carson.
Carson’s team pushed back against the report, claiming that Clarridge was not a close Carson adviser at all. In turn, The Times pointed out that Carson’s own team had touted Clarridge as a foreign-policy hand.
But Trump ignored that nuance during a press conference before his Wednesday-night rally in Worcester, Massachusetts.
“You brought it up. I did not bring it up,” Trump told a reporter. “But when The New York Times writes a devastating piece … when The New York Times says essentially, from his top adviser and a couple others, that he’s essentially incapable of learning foreign policy. I mean, that’s pretty sad.”
The Republican front-runner then sought confirmation from the reporter.
“Excuse me. Do you agree? Huh?” he asked. “You’re a reporter. You’re not allowed to agree.”
Trump added that he understands what his own foreign-policy advisers say “within about two seconds.”
He was more direct during the subsequent campaign rally.
“If you read the front page of The New York Times today, they said about Ben Carson that he’s unable to understand foreign policy,” Trump said. “You know, his people actually said this, that he’s unable to comprehend or understand foreign policy. It was a devastating story. It’s all over the place.”
He added: “He’s unable to comprehend foreign policy. We can’t do this! I think he’s a nice guy, probably. Who knows? I don’t care! I don’t care!”
And then on Thursday morning, Trump continued to rail into Carson on the report:
Ben Carson is being severely criticised for being incapable of understanding foreign policy be one of his top consultants. Not good!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2015
Trump’s attacks are not surprising. He has repeatedly tried different lines against Carson since the retired neurosurgeon surged to challenge his No. 1 status in the polls.
He mocked Carson for arguing that the pyramids were used to store grain rather than as tombs for the pharaohs. He accused Carson of having a pattern of lying after reports questioned some of Carson’s claims of having a violent childhood.
But Trump really went off at the end of last week, when he gave an epic stump speech comparing Carson’s supposed “pathological temper” to incurable child molesters. For his part, Carson calmly responded to that attack, simply saying: “Pray for him.”
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