WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) — Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson will endorse GOP front-runner Donald Trump for president, news reports said late Thursday.
The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, first reported Carson’s decision to back Trump.
The report said Carson will make the endorsement official Friday at a news conference with Trump in Florida.
Earlier in the day, Carson said he was “leaning toward” endorsing Trump during an interview on Fox News radio, but also said he was considering support for Sen. Ted Cruz.
Carson exited the race after disappointing results on Super Tuesday when he failed to win a single state, a few months after he had actually overtaken Trump in national polls. Among stinging attacks from Trump, a string of embarrassing slip-ups on the campaign trail and reports of campaign in-fighting, Carson’s time at the top of the GOP race was brief.
During the radio interview, Carson said he has gotten to know Trump when he is not on stage revving up rowdy crowds — and he’s liked what he’s seen.
“There’s the Donald Trump that you see on television and who gets out in front of big audiences, and there’s the Donald Trump behind the scenes,” Carson said. “They’re not the same person. One’s very much an entertainer, and one is actually a thinking individual.”
Carson, who remains a respected figure in the evangelical community, went on to say Trump is “more reasonable” than people realize.
Since ending his campaign, Carson has signed on with the Christian group My Faith Votes to help rally support for conservatives in the fall.
Carson would become the second of Trump’s vanquished rivals to officially support his campaign, after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did so two weeks ago. The only other failed candidate to make an endorsement in the Republican race so far is Carly Fiorina, who said Wednesday she is endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz.
Former candidate Jeb Bush has met with Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich to discuss their efforts to unseat Trump as the front-runner, but so far has not publicly endorsed anyone.