Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson on Monday distanced himself from a statement made last week by his business manager which questioned whether 2016 rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were authentic evangelicals.

Carson advisor Armstrong Williams said on New Year’s Eve that he believed the retired neurosurgeon “is the only true authentic evangelical Christian in the race.”

“There are a lot of people who talk a good game about their faith, including Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz — Dr. Carson lives it,” Williams added.

Speaking to TheBlaze at a New York event, Carson said he did not agree with his advisor’s assessment.

“No, I don’t stand by that statement,” Carson said.

He then stressed that Williams has no formal role in his campaign.

“You know, Armstrong Williams — you know, he had a life long before I was around. Always talking about stuff. Controversial. But he doesn’t speak for me,” Carson said.

“Do you condemn that statement?” asked Blaze reporter Josiah Ryan.

“I do not agree with that statement,” Carson replied. “I would never make a statement like that.”

Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook: