Real-estate mogul Donald Trump went all-out against presidential rival Ben Carson during an epic Thursday-night speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Among other things, Trump doubled down on his comparison of Carson’s supposed “pathological temper” to child molesters, while both reenacting and questioning Carson’s history of violent incidents as a young teenager.
“How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?” Trump asked his supporters of Carson, the only Republican challenging his No. 1 position in the primary polls.
“So here’s the good news: He’s now saying all of that stuff happened!” Trump exclaimed. “Because otherwise he’s a liar.”
Trump was referring to Carson’s memoir, “Gifted Hands,” in which the retired neurosurgeon described a series of violent attacks against his family and friends.
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 Trump apparently thinks Carson never got better. The business mogul generated headlines earlier in the day when he compared Carson’s “pathological” temper to child molesters during a CNN interview.
He doubled down on that comparison during his Thursday-night speech in Iowa.
“I don’t want to say what I said, but I’ll tell you anyway. I said that if you’re a child molester — a sick puppy, you’re a child molester — there’s no cure for that. There’s only one cure; we don’t want to talk about that cure. That’s the ultimate cure,” Trump told his supporters. “If you’re a child molester, there’s no cure. They can’t stop you.”
Trump pointed to three of Carson’s claimed violent teenaged incidents in particular: attacking his mum with a hammer, hitting someone with a padlock, and trying to stab a friend.
“So he’s a pathological, damaged camper. A problem. Then they talk about my tone ‘is a little tough.’ Give me a break,” he continued. “Go back to Carson. So he went after his mother — went after his mother! Think of this. He went after his mother with a hammer at a fairly young age, fourteen [or] fifteen years old. I didn’t. I didn’t.”
But at the same time, Trump said he didn’t believe Carson’s 50-year-old stories, including that his friend’s belt buckle stopped his camping knife from sinking in. Trump reenacted a young Carson in order to mock the stories, and at one point he walked away from the podium to show how ridiculous he felt the stabbing story was.
“Give me a break, the knife broke,” he said. “The belt moves this way. It moves this way! It moves that way! He hits a belt buckle! … Believe me, it ain’t gonna to work. … But he took the knife, he went like this! And he plunged it into the belt! And amazingly, the belt stayed totally flat and the knife broke.”
Watch Trump explain Carson’s story below:
And Trump discounted how Carson could have had an epiphany had he acted like that.
“He goes into the bathroom for a couple hours, and comes out, and now he’s religious. And the people of Iowa believe him,” he said. “Give me a break. Give me a break. It doesn’t happen that way. It doesn’t happen that way.”
He added: “Some people might not like it: ‘Oh, that’s not really nice what you say.’ Don’t be fools. Don’t be fools, OK?”
For its part, Carson’s campaign fired back after Trump’s initial “child molester” comparison by dismissing the idea that its candidate has some kind of incurable disease:
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