Updated at 9:07 p.m.
During the Saturday night Republican debate, Ben Carson once again criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his campaign’s decision to spread reports that Carson was dropping out of the race during the Iowa caucuses, charging that Cruz has “Washington ethics.”
Carson initially said he would not take the opportunity to “savage” Cruz over “ethics,” but then proceeded to do just that.
“It gives us a very good example of certain types of Washington ethics. Washington ethics, basically says, if it’s legal, you do what you need to do in order to win,” Carson said.
Carson said it was wrong to assume that he would have suspended his campaign following the Iowa caucus, referencing a campaign staffer who died in a January car crash in Iowa.
“I will say that I was very disappointed that members of his team thought so little of me that they thought that after having hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers and college students who sacrificed their time and were dedicated to the cause — one even died — to think that I would just walk away ten minutes before the caucus and say, ‘Forget about you guys.’ I mean, who would do something like that?” Carson asked. “I don’t think anyone on this stage would do something like that.”
Carson then noted that CNN sent out a tweet clarifying the details of Carson’s trip shortly after the initial report that he was headed home to Florida.
In response, Cruz noted that he apologized to Carson and that he called his fellow Republican presidential candidate on the night of the Iowa caucuses to make an apology.
“I called him that evening because I respect him very, very highly. I didn’t reach him that evening. I reached him the next day and apologized,” Cruz said.
Cruz later apologized publicly, as well.
The Texas senator also blamed CNN for failing to correct its report about Carson’s trip home to Florida after the Iowa caucuses.
“They didn’t correct that story until 9:15 that night, so, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15, that’s what CNN was reporting. Subsequent to that initial report, Ben’s campaign put out a statement saying that he was not suspending his campaign,” Cruz said. “I wish that our campaign staff had forwarded that statement, they were unaware of it, I wish that they had, that’s why I apologized.”
CNN on Saturday night continued to push back against Cruz’s claim that the network reported that Carson was ending his campaign.
CNN statement: “Senator Cruz’s claims about CNN are false. At no point did the network indicate Dr. Carson would suspend his campaign.”
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) February 7, 2016