"Everybody could potentially be considered – doesn't mean they are on the short list," Ben Carson says

By Tierney McAfee
Updated May 16, 2016 06:10 PM
Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Ben Carson is clarifying after he appeared to accidentally confirm the names on Donald Trump‘s list of possible running mates during a new interview with The Washington Post.

The retired neurosurgeon and Trump surrogate – who told The Post that John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie were all “people on our list” of potential vice presidential picks for Trump – called the paper to clarify his comments after the story was published on Sunday.

“When it comes to who could be the vice president and you name a list of people, I’m going to say yes to everybody,” said Carson, who has been appointed to Trump’s vice presidential search committee. “Everybody could potentially be considered – doesn’t mean they are on the short list.”

Carson apparently spilled the beans to a Post reporter who accompanied the former GOP hopeful and his wife, Candy, as they traveled in a Town Car to a televised interview in Washington, D.C. After the reporter told Carson a new Morning Consult poll found that the former surgeon was the best-liked candidate on a list of potential running mates for Trump, Carson asked who else had made the list.

The reporter named Kasich, Rubio, Cruz, Palin and Christie as other contenders favored by the public.

“Those are all people on our list,” Carson replied.

His wife, Candy Carson, then cut in to remind him, “Well, not you.”

Carson denied revealing Trump’s short list again during an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Monday, saying, “Any name you’re going to throw out, I’ll say, ‘Yeah, sure.’ That doesn’t mean they’re under consideration or that they’re on the short list.”

“I’m not going to get into that,” he added. “I’ve already made my suggestions and had the conversations. My involvement is continuing to make sure that Donald Trump’s candidacy is successful and, more importantly, that America is successful.”

And Trump himself took to Twitter shortly after the Washington Post article was published on Sunday to correct Carson’s comments.

Trump told the Associated Press last Tuesday that he had narrowed down his vice presidential short list to “five or six” people, and he acknowledged that Christie was on that list. Christie later responded that being on a short list “doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.”

Carson’s comments also sparked renewed interest in Palin as Trump’s potential running mate.

But the former Alaska governor said last week that while she’s open to being Trump’s running mate, she’s afraid she could end up hurting rather than helping his campaign.

“I am such a realist that I realize there are a whole lot of people out there who would say, ‘Anybody but Palin,’ ” she said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I wouldn’t want to be a burden on the ticket, and I realize in many, many eyes, I would be that burden.”

“I just want the guy to win. I want America to win,” added Palin, who endorsed Trump in January. “And I don’t know if I would be the person that would be able to help him win.”