Ben Carson said Thursday that he would approach all of Donald Trump's former rivals to encourage them to support the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
"I've experienced Trump's insults first hand, but I also know the importance of getting a conservative on the Supreme Court, bringing jobs back to the country and getting the country's fiscal mess in order," Carson, who ended his quest for the nomination in March, told The Hill
"It was a tough primary, but I think some of his former rivals and those he fought with the most will be open to giving him another look once they see the outreach he's done on Capitol Hill and realize that Hillary Clinton is the only alternative."
Carson's comments come as Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan Thursday in an effort to bridge party unity and talked on Wednesday by telephone with challenger, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Among the other 15 rivals Carson would need to reach out to include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has said that he would not endorse Trump; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who blasted Trump as a bully and a liar last week during the Indiana primary; and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who also declined this week to give the developer a formal endorsement.
Though Ryan said later Thursday that he was "very encouraged" by what he learned from Trump, the speaker would not endorse him.
Carson played down the development, telling the Hill: "Are there differences? Of course there are. There are differences between everybody.
"But I think as they talk they'll find they're not as far apart on those policies as you might think," he added. "I think as this relationship develops it will be a very strong and positive relationship that will result in getting a lot of things done."
He said that he was sure Ryan would eventually support Trump.
"Paul Ryan is a patriot, and Donald Trump is a patriot — and they both want America to succeed," Carson said. "That's really the big common bond that will allow them to work extremely effectively together.
"Speaker Ryan is a very thoughtful man and as they get to know each other they'll find themselves growing closer together — and Ryan will make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time."
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