US Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has officially ended his bid for the White House and laid out a five-point guide on how he thinks the party’s followers should use their votes going forward in the campaign.
After failing to win any of the early states in the race for the November election, the neurosurgeon announced he was ending his campaign on Friday.
“There are a lot of people who love me, they just won’t vote for me,” the one-time Republican front runner said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Carson had announced on Wednesday he did not see a “political path forward” in his campaign for the party’s nomination, and had not attended the Republican debate in Michigan on Thursday.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Friday night, Carson said he hoped his “presence added a measure of civility to the race, raised issues that would not otherwise have been discussed, and had an overall positive impact”.
He also outlined how he thought Republicans should vote during the rest of the campaign for the party’s nomination.
“I have committed to not endorse a specific individual, but rather ‘We the People’,” he said.
“Though many today are making decisions based on fear and anger, I trust their judgment to logically examine the candidates and make the right decision by looking at:
- Whether they have demonstrated significant accomplishments over their lives and careers.
- If they have ideas that are clear and policies that are easy to find.
- How they treat their family and others, as that is how they will lead the country.
- What they have done to improve the lives of Americans; the people they are with, what they are saying and how they collaborate with others.
- Their ethics, because what America needs is Trickle-down ethics.
“We need to understand that Republicans are not each others’ enemies. We need to engage in conversation and challenge each others’ positions, not fight each other. Conservatives need to unify together so that that we do not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and put another secular progressive in the White House.”
As recently as November, Carson was being labelled as the front runner in the race for the Republican nomination, but attacks on his lack of political experience and the dramatic rise of Donald Trump saw him take a backseat as the campaign kicked off for real in the new year.
The remaining Republican candidates – Trump, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich – are locked in a brutal slugfest for the nomination, as shown during Wednesday’s debate in Michigan, which descended into name-calling and descriptions of the size of candidates’ genitalia.