Carson to lead Trump’s outreach to former presidential rivals
© Getty Images

Ben Carson will personally reach out to all of the former Republican presidential candidates Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE has vanquished to ask them to rally behind the presumptive GOP nominee.

In an interview on Thursday, Carson said he’d lobby all of Trump’s defeated foes — even those who fought bitterly with Trump, such as Jeb Bush and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamYates spars with GOP at testy hearing Trump knocks Sally Yates ahead of congressional testimony Republicans uncomfortably playing defense MORE, and have said they won’t endorse or vote for him in the general election.


"I've experienced Trump's insults first hand, but I also know the importance of getting a conservative on the Supreme Court, bringing jobs back to the country and getting the country's fiscal mess in order,” said Carson, who ended his own GOP bid in early March.

“It was a tough primary, but I think some of his former rivals and those he fought with the most will be open to giving him another look once they see the outreach he's done on Capitol Hill and realize that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Top federal official says more details coming on foreign election interference The Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  MORE is the only alternative."

Among Trump’s former rivals are Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  Ted Cruz bashes Oprah for 'lecture' on race: 'What utter, racist BS' Senate Democrats prepare seven-figure spending spree in Texas MORE (R-Texas), who spent his last day on the campaign trail condemning Trump as a bully and a liar; Cruz’s pick for a running mate, Carly Fiorina; and Graham and Bush, both of whom have said they won’t support Trump in the general election.

Also still on the sidelines are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  A plan to empower parents, increase education options as an uncertain school year looms Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert MORE (R-Ky.), former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a potential vice presidential candidate.

Carson’s new round of outreach comes as Trump makes his pitch to the GOP leaders on Capitol Hill who are still trying to wrap their minds around the billionaire businessman becoming the party’s standard-bearer.

Trump met with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDemocratic super PAC quotes Reagan in anti-Trump ad set to air on Fox News: 'Are you better off?' Trump lashes out at Reagan Foundation after fundraising request The Memo: Trump's grip on GOP loosens as polls sink MORE (R-Wis.) on Thursday, as well as GOP leaders in the House and Senate, in an effort to unify a party that has splintered over his rise.

Carson, who has become a jack-of-all-trades for Trump and a prominent member of his inner circle, spoke with Ryan days before that meeting in an attempt to lay the groundwork ahead of Thursday.

A source with knowledge of the conversation said Trump was impressed by Carson’s outreach, and the two agreed he’d continue in that vein by reaching out to the former GOP presidential candidates.

Carson on Thursday downplayed Ryan’s refusal to endorse Trump.

“Are there differences? Of course there are. There are differences between everybody,” Carson said. “But I think as they talk they’ll find they’re not as far apart on those policies as you might think. I think as this relationship develops it will be a very strong and positive relationship that will result in getting a lot of things done.”

Carson said he’s confident a Ryan endorsement will come eventually.

"Paul Ryan is a patriot, and Donald Trump is a patriot, and they both want America to succeed, and that’s really the big common bond that will allow them to work extremely effectively together," Carson said.

“Speaker Ryan is a very thoughtful man and as they get to know each other they’ll find themselves growing closer together and Ryan will make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time."