National GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump says he puts his faith up against his top challenger Ben Carson and anyone else and doesn't understand why he's losing among evangelical Christians in Iowa.
"I can only speak for myself. I don't like to talk about somebody else's faith. I can say that I'm a Presbyterian. I'm a believer," Trump said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
In the interview recorded Saturday at Trump's National Doral Miami golf course, he sounded different than he did earlier that same day when he contrasted his own faith with Carson's before a crowd in Jacksonville.
"I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness," Trump said. "I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."
When asked about the comment by host Jake Tapper, Trump said the most recent Iowa polls, where he is running second to Carson — surprised him including the fact he is second to Carson with evangelicals.
"I match myself against just about everybody. I am a believer," Trump said. Evangelicals "like me. I've gone to many meetings. We've had 28 of the great ministers last week. … And pastors from all over the country, and so many and they really — I've had a great relationship with Christianity, and frankly, I would say every bit as good as his."
In a live interview on ABC's "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos asked Trump was sending a "dog whistle" to some conservatives who say Seventh-day Adventists aren't Christians.
No, Trump responded. "I just don't know about that particular religion. … I would never say bad about any religion. That's not an insult."
Carson told "Fox News Sunday"
host Chris Wallace that Trump's comment about his Seventh-day Adventism was "interesting" considering Trump's reaction to Carson's own comments in September about Trump's faith — or lack thereof.
Carson apologized for telling a reporter that the difference in himself and Trump is that he didn't believe humility or "the fear of the Lord" was as important to Trump.
Trump has seen huge support among evangelicals, though some were put off by his answer to a question about whether he has ever asked God for forgiveness by saying, "When we go in church and when I drink my little wine ... and have my little cracker, I guess that's a form of asking for forgiveness."
"I refuse to get into the mud pit," Carson said Sunday on Fox. "The Republicans were there trying to destroy each other. I think that was a huge mistake in the last cycle. And I'm certainly not going to get into that no matter what anybody says."
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