Ben Carson and Donald Trump aren’t your typical politicians, so now that the renowned neurosurgeon isn’t fighting to be the GOP presidential nominee, he has no problem telling people how the system really works. For instance, in an interview with Newsmax on Monday, Carson explained that while he’s not a huge Trump fan, he endorsed him because he has the best shot at winning — and even if he’s terrible, “we’re only looking at four years.”
Carson’s wild ride on the Straight Talk Express continued on Wednesday when he told Yahoo News that he doesn’t care about Trump comparing him to a child molester. “If it were about me, yes, I would be outraged, saying, ‘No way can I support this,’ but it’s not about me,” Carson explained. “[Trump] was concerned about the fact that he couldn’t shake me. I understand politics, and particularly the politics of personal destruction, and you have to admit to some degree it did work. A lot of people believed him.”
This all fits with Carson’s often too-chill demeanor, but he’s not just brushing off Trump’s insults — and plagiarism? — because he’s a pushover. In the Newsmax interview, Carson revealed that Trump promised him a role in his administration, “certainly in an advisory capacity.” He wouldn’t say if that means a cabinet position and said he couldn’t “reveal any details about it right now, because all of this is still very liquid.” Sources told Mother Jones that Carson thinks he’s in the running to be Trump’s running mate and boasted to his staff, “He needs me more than I need him.”
There’s only one hitch, aside from Carson airing his ambivalent feelings about his potential running mate. Like typical politicians, it’s illegal for Carson and Trump to cut a deal exchanging an endorsement for an administration position. As Think Progress notes, federal law states:
Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
Luckily for these two political outsiders, that’s not what happened at all. “First of all,” Carson told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday, “we did not discuss any quid pro quo. There seems to be a great desire by many people to try to make it seem that way.”
Can’t a man hint that a former foe offered him a job in exchange for his endorsement without the media jumping to wild conclusions?