Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Wednesday tried something new on Twitter: defending another presidential candidate.
Trump took to his favorite social medium to show support for fellow GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson, who has been criticized for saying Tuesday that he would have confronted the gunman who killed nine people at an Oregon community college last week and “not just stand there and let him shoot me.”
“Ben Carson was speaking in general terms as to what he would do if confronted with a gunman, and was not criticizing the victims. Not fair!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
The tactic is a new one for Trump, who has often used Twitter to attack his competitors – including Carson — for the Republican nomination.
The Trump defense comes as Carson has surged to second place in some polls behind Trump, who continues to lead the GOP pack.
After Carson first appeared to criticize the depth of Trump’s faith in August, the retired neurosurgeon apologized to Trump and the two have avoided criticizing each other since.
Another GOP contender, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, wasn’t as sympathetic to Carson’s comments.
“I think Mr. Carson has no idea of what he would do,” Graham said Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”
“You know, I’ve been in the military for a very long time. I’ve never been a front line soldier by any means. But I can tell you this: You don’t know what’s going to happen, like during the Holocaust – you’re overwhelmed. You’re at the, ah – all I can say is that not what we need to be saying as leaders of the country,” he added.
Carson defended his comments Tuesday night on Fox News, saying that he was “not judging them (the shooting victims) at all.”
“But, you know, these incidents continue to occur. I doubt that this will be the last one. I want to plant the seed in people’s minds so that if this happens again, you know, they don’t all get killed,” Carson said.
CNN’s Tom LoBianco contributed to this report.