House conservatives tried to recruit retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to run for speaker of the House in 2014, the Republican presidential candidate told The Hill on Thursday.
“They were looking for an alternative, they were looking for someone strong and courageous who might really be able to add some spine and some backbone,” Carson told The Hill. “I was very flattered that there were several members that thought I’d fit the bill very well, but I think it played out correctly the way that it did.”
Carson said he met with some House Republicans about the role, but he declined in order to focus on his presidential ambitions.
“It would have pretty much ruined my presidential bid,” he told The Hill. “It would have been very difficult to do my job as the Speaker of the House while running for president. You’ve seen how difficult a time Sen. Rubio is having fulfilling his senatorial obligations. The Speaker of the House has even more obligations.”
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) confirmed to The Hill that he met with Carson about the retired neurosurgeon’s potential to replace then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).