As a “trusted confidante” of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Ben Carson reached out to House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday night in preparation for Ryan’s Thursday meeting with Trump.
Carson’s actions come as his role on Trump’s vice-presidential selection committee is being downsized.
Ryan caused a major stir in the Republican ranks last week when he said he was “not ready” to support Trump as the GOP nominee. Thursday’s meeting was called to bring the two men face to face.
“We talked about the big issues, and I think they are going to have a very, very substantive and good meeting,” Carson said Wednesday. “I suspect that after they meet they’ll feel much closer.”
The Washington Post quoted a Ryan aide who called the 10-minute call cordial and productive.
“Ryan has spent maybe a total of 15 minutes of his entire life with Donald Trump, so he doesn’t really know him,” Carson said. “I can see his comments now as perfectly legitimate, that he just needed to know more. I don’t think they are going to come out of that meeting being enemies.”
Carson said he and Ryan discussed entitlement programs and Trump’s tax plan.
Carson was asked about the odds of Ryan not supporting Trump even after their meeting. “Knowing him and knowing Donald, I don’t think that will be the case,” Carson responded.
Trump presumably chose Carson to begin a dialogue with Ryan “because Trump trusts him and the Speaker trusts him,” said Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, who also called Carson a “trusted confidante” of Trump’s.
“I do know that Dr. Carson and Trump have become very trusted allies; brothers,” he said. “They confide in each other.“
Williams said Tuesday that in the wake of the Trump campaign putting campaign manager Corey Lewandowski formally in charge of the effort to review Trump’s potential running mates, Carson — who had been assigned to help with that task — was moving on.
“What Trump wanted from Carson were names of who he would recommend for a potential candidate,” said Williams. “He was among several other people making recommendations.”
“That vetting process is a long process and a tedious process. Now Carson is involved in making sure that everything goes well with Thursday’s meeting,” Williams said.
Despite Williams’ comments, CNN reported that a Trump campaign source reported that Carson was still advising Trump on potential vice presidential candidates.
Williams told CNN the differences between his version of events and the campaign’s comments to CNN were difference in “semantics.”
“We’re both saying the same thing,” Williams said.
Williams said Carson “doesn’t want a position” or a “title,” but would step in as needed.
“He’s an adviser. I just think he’s in a better position where he’s not pigeonholed,” Williams said.
h/t: The Hill