Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson and Ted Cruz held a meeting Thursday night in a storage closet — literally.
The meeting, which was called by Cruz and held prior to Thursday’s Conservative Review convention, was an attempt to bandage his relationship with rival Carson ahead of the South Carolina primary on Saturday. The two conversed for about 30 minutes, as Carson’s Secret Service detail stood guard by the door, according to The Daily Beast.
Carson has been criticizing Cruz since the Iowa caucuses, accusing the Texas senator of using “dirty tricks” that kept him from performing better in the Hawkeye State. A source close to the Carson campaign said the retired neurosurgeon agreed to a 5-minute huddle with Cruz.
The secret meeting was supposed to remain a secret, until the Cruz campaign leaked the fact that the talk had taken place, according to the Carson campaign.
“We weren’t going to comment to the press on it, but it seems pretty clear that the other party involved had a different agenda,” Carson spokesman Jason Osbourne said. “How else could we perceive that to be?”
Cruz apologized to the Carson campaign earlier this month for sending out an email telling supporters that Carson had dropped out of the race, citing a “breaking news story” that CNN sent out. In reality, Carson was just returning home for a few days in order to do laundry. In the weeks since the Iowa caucuses, the 2016 Committee, a PAC associated with the Carson camp, has capitalized on the confusion between the two candidates.
An unnamed GOP operative said the Cruz campaign chose the closet because they wanted to meet Carson on “neutral ground.” However, when the two candidates met face-to-face, things didn’t seem to go well. At the end of the talk, the Carson campaign said the two men would just have to “agree to disagree.”
Journalists were reportedly calling the Carson campaign even while the two candidates were still meeting. A member of Carson’s Secret Service detail guarding the door told a Republican operative, “Yeah they’re in that closet.”
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