Donald Trump, the persistent front-runner in the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls, sought to dampen the rising candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday, questioning his ability as a leader.
In several national polls, along with those in early nominating states, Trump, a billionaire businessman, and Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, lead the pack of GOP presidential candidates and are both appealing to voters because of their outsider status.
From rival candidates to journalists, Trump has castigated anyone who has even slightly criticized his campaign – leaving Carson as his most recent target.
“I’m a deal-maker. I’ll make great deals for this country,” said Trump, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Ben can’t do that. Ben’s a doctor and he’s not a deal-maker, and I’ll make great deals for our country, which is very important.”
While campaigning in Iowa on Saturday, Trump cast doubt that Carson has the “energy” to lead the country.
His comments about Carson come as the former head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital rises in polls and has, at times, looked to separate himself from the bombast of Trump’s candidacy.
At a campaign event in Southern California last week, Carson said that what separates him from Trump is that he does not deny a “faith in God.” Carson offered an apology days later, saying he did not mean to offend Trump.
On Sunday, while also a guest on “Face the Nation,” Carson dismissed any criticism that he will not be able to lead the country or work with allies abroad.
He cited his career outside of the operating room in which he’s served on several corporate boards, such as those of Kellogg and Costco.
“It’s ridiculous to think that the only thing that I can do is neurosurgery. I find it quite humorous when people say, ‘He’s an idiot savant. He only knows neurosurgery,’ ” he said. “Just the fact that they would say something like that, they don’t know what it takes to become a neurosurgeon. That’s pretty idiotic itself.”
Trump catching up to Clinton in polls
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump are separated by a narrow 3 points in a potential 2016 matchup, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with 46 percent of registered voters choosing Clinton to 43 percent picking Trump.
The picture is a bit different among all adults, where Clinton has a 51 percent to 39 percent advantage.
Trump’s improved performance against Clinton among registered voters isn’t unexpected, given that Democrats have a harder time turning out their supporters and usually fare better among broader samples of Americans. Their advantage is typically smaller still among actual voters in general elections. Trump’s lead among registered voters is within the 3.5-point margin of error.
– The Washington Post