Skip to main content
Tags: ben | carson | backlash | trump | endorsement | evangelicals

Carson Gets Evangelical, Conservative Backlash Over Trump Endorsement

Carson Gets Evangelical, Conservative Backlash Over Trump Endorsement

Friday, 11 March 2016 07:22 PM EST

Dr. Ben Carson's endorsement of GOP front-runner Donald Trump drew heavy fire Friday from several leading social and Christian conservatives.

They complain that Carson has turned on the very values that brought him support and think Trump will let down evangelical community if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

George Barna, who has spent decades polling the evangelical community, predicted the Carson endorsement would not be well received by Christian conservatives.

"I think conservative Christians will be both confused and disappointed by Mr. Carson's endorsement of Mr. Trump," Barna told Newsmax.

"Those who supported Mr. Carson as a candidate did so because of his character and his commitment to his Christian faith. Conservative Christian voters do not sense the same depth of character or a similar commitment to Christ from Mr. Trump," Barna said.

Barna added that social conservatives "are more likely to ignore the endorsement than to be moved by it."

In this campaign Trump has identified himself as an evangelical, but has come under fire for supporting pro-abortion Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton in previous campaigns. Social conservatives have also been angered that Trump continues to praise Planned Parenthood and says he won't cut off its funding.

Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's former Secretary of State and a leader in the conservative movement, told Newsmax that he believes the endorsement stems from Carson's rapport with the various candidates.

"I don't begrudge him that personal interaction with each of the candidates, and his prayerful decision to feel comfortable with Donald Trump," said Blackwell, the former secretary of state of Ohio.

"I do disagree with him from a policy standpoint," adds Blackwell, who also serves as senior adviser and principle spokesperson for the Our Principles PAC. "Donald Trump has been a waffler. He has not shown that he is a consistent, authentic conservative. And as someone who has been engaged in the movement, I just flat-out disagree with Ben's assessment."

One reason the endorsement caught some conservatives by surprise: Trump dealt damaging body-blows to Carson during the campaign, claiming the soft-spoken pediatric neurosurgeon had a "pathological temper," which Trump suggested was as incurable as "child molesting."

The surprising level of evangelical support for Trump, who is not known for his social-conservative credentials, has been one of the biggest wild cards in the thoroughly unpredictable 2016 primary season.

The Carson endorsement Friday happened to coincide with publication of an op-ed by Faith & Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed in The Wall Street Journal, which suggested that evangelical support has been exaggerated.

Reed noted Trump is only garnering about a third of the evangelical vote, roughly the same share that supported Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

"Mr. Trump may not worship at the same church of share the theology of most evangelicals," Reed wrote. "But he is a voice and vehicle for the disenchantment they feel toward Washington, and their yearning for a strong leader to transform it."

There was widespread speculation Friday regarding Carson's motive for the endorsement. Some commentators speculate he'd like to be vice president. Others voiced suspicions that Carson harbors ill will toward Trump's main rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

In late January, the Cruz campaign promulgated inaccurate news reports suggesting Carson would drop out of the race. Carson accused the Cruz campaign of "dirty tricks," and Cruz later apologized.

David French, a National Review staff writer who is past president of Foundation for Individual Right in Education, and former senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Newsmax Friday: "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Carson's letting personal resentment over the Cruz campaign's tactics in Iowa override his better judgment.

"For a man who ran on a campaign to ‘heal, inspire, and revive' to endorse a candidate who's incited thuggish violence at his rallies and whose commitment to life and religious liberty is shaky at best is extraordinarily disappointing," French said.

On Friday, National Review endorsed Trump's chief rival, Cruz, stating that: "He forthrightly defends religious liberty, the right to life of unborn children, and the role of marriage in connecting children to their parents – causes that reduce too many other Republicans to mumbling."

Nancy French, a best-selling conservative author who has collaborated with Sarah Palin on several books, also expressed disappointment on Friday with the Carson endorsement.

"I admire Dr. Carson and the life of virtue and skill that he's led," remarked Nancy, who is married to David. "However, his endorsement of Trump indicates what the voters already knew – he lacks the wisdom and political skill to be an effective leader. 

She added: "Trump has repeatedly flaunted his non-traditional morality, advocated immoral and illegal methods of war, lied about everything and everyone, insinuated Carson was a pedophile, and mocked Carson's faith. Carson had the opportunity to powerfully speak into the culture about the attributes of effective, moral leadership. Apparently, he's not as familiar with the concept as his resume might've indicated."

But as has been the case throughout the campaign, evangelicals are also expressing support for Trump, who has won a plurality of the evangelical vote in several primary contests.

Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, says evangelicals' primary focus is on finding an electable candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton.  Evangelicals had begun to coalesce around Cruz, he says – but Carson's endorsement may change that.

Jeffress, a prolific Christian author whose latest book is "Not All Roads Lead to Heaven: Sharing an Exclusive Jesus in an Inclusive World," describes the Carson endorsement as "a game changer."

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dr. Ben Carson's endorsement of GOP front-runner Donald Trump drew heavy fire Friday from several leading social and Christian conservatives. They complain that Carson has turned on the very values that brought him support and think Trump will let down evangelical community...
ben, carson, backlash, trump, endorsement, evangelicals
Friday, 11 March 2016 07:22 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved