Thursday 18 January 2018

Ben Carson backs Donald Trump's White House bid, says no one has seen billionaire's 'cerebral’ side

Ben Carson listens to Donald Trump during a news conference in Palm Beach, Florida Credit: AP
Ben Carson listens to Donald Trump during a news conference in Palm Beach, Florida Credit: AP Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he and Donald Trump have "buried the hatchet" after months of political wrangling, and confirmed he is endorsing the party front-runner's White House bid.

At a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida, Mr Carson - who left the race earlier this month - described "two Donald Trumps" - the persona reflected on stage, and a private, "very cerebral" person who "considers things carefully".

In turn, Mr Trump described the retired neurosurgeon as a "special, special person" and a "friend" who is respected by everyone.

Read More: Trump victory could see 'clash of civilisations', warns Dubai security official

Mr Carson warned that it is "extremely dangerous" when political parties attempt to "thwart the will of the people", and urged politicians to "strengthen the nation", rather than create divisions.

The new show of harmony came after footage of Mr Trump's supporters attacking protesters and allegations that he is inciting violence cast new attention on the divisive nature of his candidacy.

Mr Trump had to answer questions on Thursday night about video footage which showed a supporter punching a protester at a rally in North Carolina - the latest in a string of scuffles at his often heated rallies.

Read More: 'People love me, they just won't vote for me' - Ben Carson bows out of Republican presidential race

He rejected the idea that he was responsible for the incidents and allegations that he sets a tone at his rallies which encourages violence.

He said: "I hope not. I truly hope not."

Mr Trump also pledged to defeat Islamic State if he is elected president, but said he will let the generals "play their own game".

He said he would "find the right generals" to do the job, but will allow them to then call the shots on how the military should approach the fight.

Mr Trump has said he wants to loosen laws that limit the use of torture if he is elected to the White House, but then appeared to reverse his stance on the use of torture after he was criticised by Republican national security experts who called his policy views "wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle".

He was speaking the day after he refused to back away from his recent statement that "Islam hates the West", saying he would not change to be "politically correct"

A victory for Mr Trump in the presidential election could spark a "clash of civilisations", according to a senior security official in Dubai.

Read More: Donald Trump refuses to back down from 'Islam hates us' comments during debate

Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, the deputy chairman of police and general security in Dubai, said : "If Trump beats Hillary (Clinton), that means that the scenario of the clash of civilisations ... will come to light at the hands of the candidate and al-Baghdadi," referencing Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Press Association

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