Carson rebuffs Trump: ‘You don’t have to be loud to be energetic’

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Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON– The top two Republican presidential candidates traded shots this weekend, with Donald Trump questioning Ben Carson’s energy and deal-making ability and Carson touting his own humility.

“I’ll make great deals for this country. Ben can’t do that. Ben’s a doctor and he’s not a deal-maker,” Trump said Sunday in a phone interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

His comments come the day after Trump criticized Carson’s energy — the same attack he’s lobbed at another Republican presidential opponent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Trump’s firepower got aimed at Carson after the retired neurosurgeon questioned his faith late last week.

“By humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches and honor and life. And that’s a very big part of who I am, humility and the fear of the Lord. I don’t get impression with him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t get that impression,” Carson said at an event in Anaheim, California.

But Carson backed off that critique, saying his remarks were “inappropriate.”

“It wasn’t meant as an attack and it was certainly spun that way by the media, because they enjoy creating a fight. They love to have a gladiator scene,” Carson said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “And, you know, it wasn’t my intention and I’m certainly not going to allow it to become my intention subsequently, regardless of how anybody reacts to it.”

Trump, though, continued to pile on Carson.

“Frankly, Ben Carson’s a very, very nice man, but this will not be a good situation because of the fact that he’s not a dealer, he’s not a negotiator and the president has to be,” Trump said, pointing to the success of his real estate empire.

Carson, who appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” after Trump, defended his demeanor and resume.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being nice,” he said.

Carson said suggesting that only one type of person is qualified to lead the nation is “ridiculous.” And he pointed to two decades of experience on the corporate boards of high-profile companies and leading a non-profit organization.

“It’s ridiculous to think that the only thing that I can do is neurosurgery,” Carson said.

Asked if Trump is humble enough to be president, Carson said, “I think I’m going to leave that up to the voters.”

Carson also brushed off Trump’s criticism of his energy levels.

“It doesn’t bother me, because I recognize that I have plenty of energy,” Carson said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You know, operating on people for 10, 12, sometimes for greater than 20 hours at a time, making critical decisions after many hours of intense work, having unexpected situations come up. You don’t have to be loud to be energetic.”

Trump and Carson are the only two of 16 Republican presidential candidates who are running for public office for the first time. They’ve risen to the top of both national polls and surveys in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire, and are each others’ greatest threats at the moment.

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