Ben Carson dismissed the "gratuitous attack" leveled against him when Donald Trump likened him to a child molester, saying Friday that he hopes candidates can "stop getting into the mud and doing things that really don't matter."
"I expect that kind of thing. That is what has been going on in our country for years that is dragging us in the mud," Carson told reporters in South Carolina. "And I don't expect it to change any time soon, but I don't have to get into it."
Trump delivered a blistering critique of Carson during a campaign rally in Iowa on Thursday in which he said the former neurosurgeon has a "pathological disease" that cannot be cured.
"If you're a child molester, there is no cure. They can't stop you." Trump said. "Pathological there is no cure. He said he was pathological."
Carson said he does not believe Trump called him a child molester, but that he is "hopeful" Trump's advisers will "help him to understand the word 'pathological.'"
Carson and Trump are neck-and-neck atop the Republican primary field and the real estate mogul has hit Carson on the questions surrounding his biography. On Friday, Trump released an Instagram video again calling into question Carson's story about attempting to stab a friend in his adolescence.
Friday evening Carson and Trump will speak back-to-back at Republican gathering in Florida.