Former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told Newsmax Saturday that Donald Trump is the victim of a vicious smear campaign by Democrats and liberal media and urged Republicans to stand by their candidate.
In an exclusive interview, Carson said he’s spoken "multiple times" to Trump over the last 12 hours and described the candidate and his team as "resolute" about going forward.
Carson himself will be at the debate hall Sunday night for the second scheduled presidential debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Carson said he believed the tape’s release may have been timed to head off damaging revelations about Clinton in emails and other files obtained by the hacker group Wikileaks.
He said he wasn’t surprised that the sex tape completely overshadowed the release of files Friday night that contained details from Clinton’s secret speeches to Wall Street groups. Among the revelations: Clinton said she wanted to create a nation of "open trade and open borders.”
"I’m not seeing anything that I didn’t totally expect," Carson said. "The political class and the media has to make this about Donald Trump. They cannot make this about the issues.
"They’re getting desperate because they’re seeing the crowds that Trump is attracting. They see the enthusiasm gap between the candidates and they know how that’s going to translate on Election Day. Their goal is now is to dribble out all of these things like this tape.
"This won’t be the last thing by the way."
Carson urged Trump’s supporters to remember that the direction is about the "direction of the country" – not Trump or Hillary Clinton.
"It’s about the elites and the status quo being desperate to maintain their position and this direction vs. a change in direction that’s desperately needed."
Carson said that the growing reports of widespread defections by Republicans – former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz just to name – shows the "Left’s plan is having its desired effect."
Carson conceded that Trump has "made some mistakes."
"He concedes that," Carson said. "Those are not good things to say, what he said in that tape. He’s not going to try to defend that. And he’s not going to allow this to become about him. The issues are too important."
Carson said that Trump and his team, as well as their Democratic rivals and the liberal media "have known about these lewd comments for ages. They’ve been waiting to drop these things out periodically because for one thing, this Hillary open borders thing came out. This is obscuring that.
"Why aren’t we talking about what the implications of that are?" he said, referring to the Wikileaks revelations that leaked Friday night just after the Trump tape was leaked. "It will change the nature of everything in this nation. They were very clever, and because they have the arm of the media it makes it very easy for them to get across what they’re doing.
"Unless people understand what’s going on."
Carson declined to share any specific details about his conversations with Trump last night and this morning, but he said, "You can gather from what I’m saying what we talked about."
"I think Donald has a very good understanding what’s going and why it’s imperative that he carry the torch for the people in terms of the issues and not allow him to be sidetracked by any of this."
Carson said he had not spoken with Pence over the last 24 hours, "but I don’t think that he (Pence) is wavering."
Carson, though, said he was not surprised that many Republicans are wavering.
"Their (Democrats) strategy will have some impact. Some people will always capitulate instead of fight. But by a 2 to 1 margin Americans think we’re on the wrong track. That’s what you need to be talking about."
Carson refused to entertain the notion that Trump could withdraw, or that he would be among the names mentioned as a replacement.
"The candidate is not going to withdraw so it’s an irrelevant question."
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