Carson calls for ceasefire with Trump
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Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonSenior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Visiting California, Trump pledges action on homelessness MORE is calling for a ceasefire with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE in their war of words over the GOP’s presidential nomination next year.

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Carson said early Thursday that he did not intend to provoke Trump by questioning his religious faith the night before.

“The media frequently wants to goad people into wars, into gladiator fights, you know,” Carson said, according to The Washington Post. “And I’m certainly not going to get into that.

“Everyone is going to be saying, ‘Oh, that’s a big fight, everyone come watch the fight,” the retired neurosurgeon added. “But it’s just not going to be as great as they think, because I’m not going to participate.”

Carson challenged the sincerity of Trump’s spirituality during an interview on Wednesday night.

“I realize where my successes come from, and I don’t in any way deny my faith in God,” he told listeners during a campaign rally in Anaheim, Calif.

“And I think that probably is the big differentiator,” he said, then comparing himself to Trump.

“That’s a very big part of who I am — humility and fear of the Lord,” added Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist. “I don’t get that impression from him.”

Trump struck back against Carson’s musings during an interview on Thursday morning.

“Who is he to question my faith?” he asked host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day.” “He knows nothing about me.

“I am a man of faith,” insisted Trump, a Presbyterian. “I hardly know Ben Carson. I’m a believer, big league, in God. I will hit back on that.

“I don’t think he’s a great religious figure,” he added, citing Carson’s medical background. “He was an OK doctor. He was heavy into the world of abortion. If you look at his faith, you’re not going to make it very far.”

Carson countered on Thursday that the public spat is a simple misunderstanding between both men.

“I would like to say to him that the intention was not to talk to him but about what motivates me,” he said. “If he took that as a personal attack on him, I apologize. It was certainly not the intent.”

Carson’s remarks come as he ranks second place behind Trump in the quest for next year’s GOP presidential nomination across multiple national polls.

He has frequently made his religious convictions a selling point on the campaign trail for evangelical voters.

Trump, in contrast, has repeatedly stated he considers his personal beliefs a private matter.

Other GOP White House hopefuls have seen voter support drop after public spats with Trump.

Former Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), for example, attacked the real estate mogul for his remarks on illegal immigrants and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) war record.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) then sided with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly after the billionaire criticized her questions during the first GOP debate.

Perry is currently 13th among the GOP field, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polling, while Graham holds the 15th spot.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), who has slipped into third place nationwide after initially leading the GOP’s presidential field earlier this summer, has also traded barbs with the GOP front-runner.

--This report was updated at 11:03 a.m.