NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), jokingly questioned whether Ben Carson had truly dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Some Carson supporters and media commentators blamed King, a supporter of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for a diminished performance by Carson in the Iowa Caucus.
“I’m not sure he dropped out,” King told TheBlaze shortly after Carson made the announcement Friday. Although Carson's staffers assured the congressman that he had suspended the campaign, King asked, “Does that mean he quit?”
King seemed sincerely uncertain about Carson’s status when TheBlaze first spoke with him because Carson had been involved in other activities at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But when his staff added that Carson had ended the presidential campaign, King stated that Carson seems to have a different political lexicon.
“Ending it. That’s even more definitive than suspending. Ben hasn’t always used the common political vernacular to describe his campaign,” King said. “So that’s why I want to know what language he used because we have to interpret what Ben said through a different dictionary than the one we use politically."
After King tweeted out that Carson had dropped out after Iowa – based on CNN information that Carson was returning home to Florida – Cruz apologized to Carson. Other candidates, particularly Donald Trump, attacked the Cruz campaign over the Carson information.
King points to his website that links to a timeline to show there was nothing underhanded against Carson.
He praised Carson for his ideas and contributions to the debate.
“To that I’d say thanks to Ben Carson, thanks for lending your ideas and your energy into this campaign,” King said. “We look forward to your future. I believe he is still committed to making America a better place. That’s what hopefully all of the candidates will be doing.”