Despite reports to the contrary, Ben Carson still advising Trump on possible VPs

Story highlights

  • Ben Carson is advising the Donald Trump campaign in selecting a vice president
  • An aide to Carson said Tuesday that he was no longer helping with the process, a statement a campaign source disputed

(CNN)Ben Carson is still advising Donald Trump as his campaign ramps up its search and vetting process for a running mate, a Trump campaign source said Tuesday, despite a top aide to the retired neurosurgeon claiming Carson had stepped away from the process.

The Trump campaign source said Tuesday that Armstrong Williams, who told the Daily Beast earlier Tuesday that Carson was no longer involved in the vetting process, had "f---ed it up."
    "He probably saw that Trump had announced that (Trump campaign manager) Corey (Lewandowski) was going to lead the effort and quickly explained it away by saying that Dr. Carson had submitted his names and his work was done," the source said.
    Trump has said in several interviews in the last week that Carson would serve on a committee to advise him on potential running mates. But Williams said in an interview Tuesday that Carson had stepped away from the vetting process after Trump tapped Lewandowski to lead the search.
    The source adds that there has only been one meeting to date in the campaign's vice presidential search process.
    Williams ascribed the differences to "semantics" in a phone interview with CNN Tuesday night.
    "We're both saying the same thing," Williams said.
    Williams said while Carson "doesn't want a position" or a "title," he would continue to advise Trump on vice presidential picks as needed.
    "He's an adviser. I just think he's in a better position where he's not pigeonholed," Williams said, though Carson had never been given a formal title to account for his role in the Trump campaign's vice presidential search.
    Still, the Carson confidante added that Carson has "moved on" as Trump told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he has narrowed his list to "five or six" candidates.
    "He's already made his recommendations," Williams said of Carson.
    But would Carson continue to offer his input as the Trump campaign continues to vet potential running mates?
    Of course, Williams said.