Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to cry foul for some of the criticism that has been leveled at Dr. Ben Carson, who is currently his closest rival in the Republican presidential race. He wrote that comments Carson recently made on Fox News about confronting a gunman have been taken out of context, and that the reporting on the issue was "Not fair!"
Carson has placed himself in the middle of the gun debate that has resurfaced after the most recent mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, last week. Following the attack, by a gunman who reportedly targeted Christians, Carson said that if he were confronted with such a situation, he would expect himself to call on others to fight back.
"Ben Carson was speaking in general terms as to what he would do if confronted with a gunman, and was not criticizing the victims," Trump wrote Wednesday.
That Trump is supporting Carson is striking. The retired neurosurgeon has been swiftly gaining on him in polls around the country since the last Republican debate. Carson is currently in second place, trailing the real estate mogul in the Real Clear Politics average of polls by just 6 points.
Ben Carson was speaking in general terms as to what he would do if confronted with a gunman, and was not criticizing the victims. Not fair!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2015
Carson's comments came during a five-minute segment Tuesday on Fox News in which he criticized President Barack Obama and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for "politicizing" the mass shooting.
"I would not just stand there and let him shoot me," Carson said. "I would say: ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'"
He later followed up on those comments during a Facebook question-and-answer session, saying that he had several family members who were the victims of gun violence, that he has treated gunshot victims and that none of those experiences made him question the right to bear arms.
Commenting at all on these issues while campaigning for the presidency is, however, political by definition. Carson is running for the nomination in a party whose members overwhelmingly (73 percent) oppose stricter gun control laws, according to a September Quinnipiac poll of voters.
Democratic voters, on the other hand, widely support (76 percent) stricter gun control measures. Following the attacks in Roseburg, Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley both released gun policy plans.