Trump sounded befuddled when Jake Tapper asked him to explain why Carson has pulled ahead among evangelicals in Iowa:
TAPPER: I want to ask you about specifically a group that he seems to be beating you with. The “Des Moines Register” poll shows he’s beating you in Iowa with born-again Christians 33 percent to 18 percent. You have stayed pretty steady with born-again Christians. He’s gone up. The poll also asked Iowa Republicans if they view you as a committed president; 32 percent said yes, 28 percent said no, and 40 percent said they weren’t sure. Now, back in September, Dr. Carson was asked what distinguishes him from you, and he mentioned faith. He brought it up. And he said — quote — “Probably, the biggest thing, I have realized where my successes come from, and I don’t in any way deny my faith in God.” Do you think that that comment in any way might have affected evangelical support for him?
TRUMP: No, because look, as far as — I can only speak for myself. I don’t like to talk about somebody else’s faith. I can say that I’m a Presbyterian. I’m a believer. I do very well with evangelicals. I was surprised. This is actually the first time that he’s done better than me. But I would match myself against just about everybody. I am a believer. And they have always really taken — they like me. We have — I have gone to many meetings. We have had 28 of the great ministers last week. You probably saw that, and pastors from all over the country, and so many. And they really — I have had a great relationship with Christianity, and, frankly, I would say every bit as good as his. So, I don’t understand the poll. I actually don’t.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for the American Principles Project and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.