Former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson has been doing a fair amount of press to talk up current GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump since endorsing him last month. Much of it has been strange.
On Thursday, Carson came to the defense of Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was charged with battery for allegedly grabbing a female reporter.
"A lot of people have been charged with various things," Carson said in an appearance on CNN. "That doesn't necessarily mean that we need to demonize them."
Okay, the innocent-until-proven-guilty argument. Pretty standard.
"You've probably been charged with something, too," Carson continued, speaking to CNN's John Berman. "Maybe with a misdemeanor or something. Doesn't mean that you're an evil, horrible person."
Berman, looking befuddled, replied that he actually has not been charged with any crimes.
It was awkward and not particularly convincing -- which means it was also right in line with how Carson has been speaking about Trump, starting with his endorsement speech.
So, we have come to a conclusion: Ben Carson is quite bad at being a Trump surrogate.
Exhibit 1: His "Trump's not so bad in private" defense
Carson began his surrogacy for Trump by saying at an endorsement press conference that there are "two Donald Trumps" and one of them "considers things carefully" -- not a great pitch considering Republican concerns that Trump is willing to say anything to get elected.
"There’s two Donald Trumps," Carson said the day before his endorsement. "There’s the Donald Trump that you see on television and who gets out in front of big audiences, and there’s the Donald Trump behind the scenes. They’re not the same person. One’s very much an entertainer, and one is actually a thinking individual."
Exhibit 2: His "Well, it's only four years" defense
A few days after endorsing Trump, Carson told Newsmax TV that he figured Trump probably wouldn't be too bad. (Inspiring!)
"Even if Donald Trump turns out not to be such a great president, which I don't think is the case, I think he's going to surround himself with really good people, but even if he didn't, we're only looking at four years as opposed to multiple generations and perhaps the loss of the American dream forever," Carson said.
Exhibit 3: His "I guess Trump is good enough" defense
Carson said in the same Newsmax interview that he would have preferred to back someone else, but he didn't see a path to the presidency for then-candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or current candidates Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
"So I have to look at what is practical and what is going to save this country and the American dream for the next generation," Carson said. "Is there another scenario that I would have preferred? Yes -- but that scenario isn’t available."
Exhibit 4: His "It's okay Trump compared me to a child molester" defense
Later in March, Carson brushed off the fact that Trump had once compared him to a child molester, saying the businessman only did it for political reasons.
"You have to admit to some degree that it did work," he said on Yahoo News. "A lot of people believed him."
He said he didn't think such rhetoric would be the status quo. "Nor should status quo be always retaliating and fighting back against something like that, particularly when the person has admitted that they were doing it for political reasons and of course they didn't believe it nor does anyone else," he added.
Exhibit 5: His "Trump only said it because he wasn't warned about the question" defense
Carson appeared on television to discuss Trump the same day the candidate angered people from the pro-abortion rights and anti-abortion camps by saying women should be punished if abortions were banned and they went through with them anyway -- something his campaign quickly walked back.
Carson said Trump hadn't been warned about the question and didn't have "a chance to really think about it."
“That happens very frequently, and you know, what you develop with experience is how to answer that in a way that is not definitive,” he said. "You know how politicians are. He has not really learned that -- he's not a politician."
Exhibit 6: His "Really, though, Trump is fine" defense
Carson said last week that Trump "has some major defects, there’s no question about it — just like the rest of us" but that is "probably the person who's most likely" to restore people's confidence in America.
Carson asked, "Are there better people?" and then answered his own question: "Probably."
Exhibit 7: His “He might be a bad guy, but think of the kids” defense
Carson gave more faint praise to Trump in an interview on the "Kelley and Kafer" radio show, Buzzfeed reported. Host Krista Kafer asked him if Trump was a bad man, and Carson said, "Who isn’t? Who among us isn’t?”
He also said he might join Kafer in opposing Trump, if it weren't for the young people.
“For me, it’s about the children and the grandchildren," said Carson. “If it was just me, I would be completely where Krista is. I would say, ‘Hey, I got this, I can deal with it,’ but for them, I can’t."
This story has been updated to include Exhibit 7.
Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.