In public, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge any mistake was made in his days of criticism of the judge hearing the class action lawsuit against Trump University.
Trump talks differently in private, according to Ben Carson, a Trump advisor who was once Trump’s rival for the GOP nomination.
“He fully recognizes that that was not the right thing to say,” Carson said in an interview with Politico, adding Trump said so himself during a private meeting this week.
Carson dismissed claims Trump was being racist in his comments that Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be fair because Curiel is a “Mexican.” Curiel was born in Indiana of parents of Mexican heritage.
“He was probably talking out loud rather than thinking. That’s not a good thing to do when everything you say is going to be analyzed,” Carson said, noting that Trump is now realizing the power of stray comments by a potential president.
“He’s coming to that understanding,” Carson said. “I think he will change it, by necessity — just the natural evolution of moving from the primary to the main event is going to necessitate a change.”
Carson said that for the good of the nation, fence-sitting Republicans who use episodes like the Curiel comment to keep their distance should fully support
“You know what I say to people who say that? I say, what’s the alternative?” Carson said. “Look at where we are as a nation right now. We are moving full speed ahead on the progressive train, heading off the cliff. I mean, somebody 30 years ago, if you tried to describe America today, they would say, ‘Get out of here.’ Are we going to continue on that train? Or do we want to get back to the more traditional values.”
Carson, in his interview with Politico, affirmed what he has often said about Trump’s campaign behavior and commentary.
“Now, does that mean that I agree with everything Donald Trump does?” he added. “Of course it doesn’t.”
Carson, who has emerged as an important figure to build bridges between Trump and key leaders or groups, is currently working to arrange a June 21 meeting in New York City between Trump and evangelical Christian leaders, many of whom supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the GOP primaries.
“You know, it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity for people in the evangelical community to express their concerns and an opportunity also for Donald Trump to give his outlook. I think they’ll find that they’re not far apart at all,” he said.
Carson, who has become one of Trump’s closer confidantes, noted that Trump has the ability to be decisive on short notice when given “new information.”
“He’s able to process it very, very quickly and make a determination about whether that’s something that needs to be acted upon,” he said. “I’m very impressed every time I’m with him and he gets new information and how quickly he can process it and cut to the chase. He knows how to make a decision.”