Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday — in between deriding the country’s “slick politicians and dishonest media” — Ben Carson took a moment to stoke rumors about his presidential ambitions in 2016.
An audience member asked Carson what steps he’d taken to run for president. “I have taken no steps toward such a thing, and I’ve got to tell you, I do not wish that job upon anybody — including myself,” he said.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s ruling out a presidential run. Carson told the audience he was looking forward to spending his retirement learning new languages, playing golf, and learning how to play the organ. After a pause, he continued, “But perhaps God has a different plan for me.”
The audience responded in kind.
This isn’t the first time Carson has cited a higher power as a reason he could run for higher office. “If the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made me do it, I would,” he told Sean Hannity in 2013.
If such a divine collar-yanking is in order, Carson will have quite a few mortal friends to call upon for support as well. Over the past four months, the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee has raised more than $2.4 million — more than similar groups supporting Hillary Clinton, Sen. Rand Paul, and Sen. Marco Rubio.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon-cum-conservative pundit, was promoting his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America’s Future. Speaking in a quiet, reverent tone, Carson is the rhetorical opposite of Sen. Ted Cruz. Both men plant their political flag on the rock of their Christian faith. But where Cruz’s speeches are often filled with fire and brimstone, Carson spoke reverently of the Christian values that influence American life. Then, just as easily as he recounted the story of Esther, Carson called the Affordable Care Act a policy Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, and Vladimir Lenin would be proud of.