Trump goes after Carson

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Donald Trump on the Attack Amid Rising Poll Numbers for Ben Carson

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is taking aim at candidate Ben Carson, setting the stage for a confrontation between the two GOP rivals at the party's next presidential debate scheduled for Wednesday.

What apparently triggered Trump's latest broadside was Carson's surging into the lead in Iowa, which will be the first state to select presidential delegates next year.

Carson also has moved past Trump in Iowa surveys of Christian conservatives, who play a key role in politics in that state. This appears to have prompted Trump to make an issue of Carson's religion.

SEE MORE ELECTION COVERAGE AT AOL.COM

Trump told a rally in Jacksonville, Florida, that he is a Presbyterian, a faith he called "down the middle of the road." Then he mentioned Carson's religion by saying, "I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."

In an interview with ABC Sunday, Trump refused to apologize for raising uncertainty about Carson's faith. "I just said I don't know about it," Trump argued. "I said nothing about it. I would never say bad. I'd never say bad about any religion."

Trump also criticized Carson for having a "super low" energy level and expressed surprise that Carson has overtaken him in Iowa. The billionaire real-estate developer added, "I don't know what's going on."

The latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll found that Carson leads Trump by 9 percentage points in Iowa, 28 percent to 19 percent, after a period of many weeks during which Trump held first place.

Carson responded in an interview with NBC by expressing surprise that Trump would bring up his religion, but adding that he wouldn't descend into "the mud pit" with Trump.

Carson also said, "My energy levels are perfectly fine." The retired neurosurgeon noted that he has spent many hours in surgery, which "doesn't require a lot of jumping up and down and screaming, but it does require a lot of concentration."

Click through to read the 10 Ben Carson facts you should know:

4 PHOTOS
Ben Carson facts you should know
See Gallery
Trump goes after Carson

1. He is a weekly opinion columnist for The Washington Times.

(Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

2. He is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and his father was a minister.

(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

10. He and his wife started a scholarship fund called "Carson scholars fund" in 1994 which has so far awarded 6,700 scholarships to kids for "academic excellence and humanitarian qualities."

(Photo by Louis Myrie/WireImage via Getty)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Copyright 2015 U.S. News & World Report

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job 20 Folks Recall Shocking Interview Moments That Made Them NOT Want the Job
Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport Nature Gets Revenge On Safari Hunter Who Killed Elephants And Lions For Sport
Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going Man Suspects His Wife Is Cheating On Him - Then His Daughter Reveals What's Really Going