CLEVELAND — It was the job he wanted: president of the United States. But Tuesday night, Dr. Ben Carson took the stage at Quicken Loans Arena in support of his one-time competitor, Donald Trump, as he became the Republican nominee for that very job.
The message from the retired neurosurgeon was startling — by electing presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the United States would be choosing a person “who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer.”
Carson apparently was referring to Saul Alinsky, an activist who is considered the founder of community organizing. In his book “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky writes of “the very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.”
“Now,” Carson told the delegates, “we must also be wary of the narrative that’s being advanced by some in our own party, the notion that a Hillary Clinton administration wouldn’t be that bad, the effects would only be temporary, you know, that it would only last for four and at most eight years.”
Carson added America “may never recover” from the policy decisions and appointments Clinton would make in office.
Carson then offered his support to Trump, whom he called an “extraordinary businessman” and “the right leader for a time such as this.”
Donald Trump “understands that the blessings of this nation come with the responsibility to ensure that they are available to all, not just the privileged few,” Carson said. He applauded Trump’s willingness to “take on the establishment.”
Tuesday’s convention festivities tied into the theme “Make America Work Again.” Carson’s personal story fit the evening’s theme, as he came from humble beginnings, which eventually led to him becoming a world-renowned surgeon at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
“Ben Carson grew up in a poor single-parent household in Detroit, Michigan,” according to the convention speaker introductions prepared by the GOP. “Between his degrees, Carson worked as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator in a steel factory.”
Carson, 64, served as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. His award-winning excellence as a surgeon gave him a voice that catapulted him into the public eye, first as a speaker and an author and later as a presidential candidate.
That same voice grabbed the attention of many people across the country, including Marylanders.
“He’s just a role model, not only for me but for millions of people,” Maryland at-large delegate Kory Boone, from Upper Marlboro, said. “He’s definitely an honorable man that I look up to.”
Boone, who initially supported Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that, although Marylanders may have supported other candidates throughout the election, he felt that there is a general respect for Carson in the state.
“People in Maryland definitely respect him, even just for his work that he was doing,” Boone said. “I’m not sure about politically, but he definitely has success in Maryland.”
Carson’s campaign advocated for the removal of federal education standards, the promotion of “fiscal responsibility,” the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service, and creation of a guest worker program for undocumented individuals in the United States. Carson has also said he disagreed with same-sex marriage, but accepted it as law.
Despite some early debate successes and promising poll results, Carson suspended his presidential campaign in early March, after his poor Super Tuesday showing proved it would be mathematically impossible for the retired surgeon to secure the nomination.
Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political analysis website at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said he does not think Carson will be a presidential candidate in the future, “or at least a credible candidate.”
Kondik argued that was because Carson was “a political novice who wasn’t really ready for primetime this year.”
Several days after Carson suspended his campaign, he officially offered his endorsement of Trump. The foe-turned-friend relationship between Carson and the business mogul continued to develop as Carson briefly headed a committee to help Trump create a shortlist of vice presidential picks.
“Trump said some very nasty things about Carson, but they seemingly reconciled,” Kondik said of the interesting relationship between the two. “Notably, it seemed like Carson might play a big role in this campaign, but Trump moved away from him as an adviser.”