WASHINGTON (CNN) — Donald Trump said he doesn’t understand his recent drop in polls, but he continued his attacks on Ben Carson, who has knocked him from the top spot in Iowa and — in at least one survey — nationwide among Republicans.
“I don’t get it,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday. “I’m going there (to Iowa) actually today and I have tremendous crowds and I have tremendous love in the room and, you know, we seem to have hit a chord. But some of these polls coming out, I don’t quite get it. ”
Trump kept up his attacks on Carson, who is beating him handily in a series of four polls from Iowa and as of Tuesday morning overtook the top spot nationwide in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.
“You know Ben wants to knock out Medicare. I heard that over the weekend, he wants to abolish Medicare. And I think, you know, abolishing Medicare. I don’t think you’re going to get away with that one. And it’s actually a program that’s worked,” Trump said.
Carson has previously said that he wanted to end traditional Medicare in its current form, but wrote over the weekend in a Facebook question-and-answer post that he would not end the highly popular program.
“The next question is about Medicare. Annette from Ohio wants to know if I really want to abolish Medicare as was reported in a Washington politician tabloid. The answer is of course NO. I am interested in how we can both save money and deliver better service to our nation’s seniors,” Carson wrote.
Trump also hit Carson for previously supporting abortion rights.
“Ben, he was pro-abortion not so long ago, as everybody has told me personally. I don’t know, but that’s what I’m told, I’ve been told. And all of the sudden he’s so hard on abortion, under no circumstances, virtually, can there be exceptions,” Trump said.
Carson has had a mixed record on abortion throughout his career. As a pediatric neurosurgeon, he would refer women to abortion providers in some cases, even though he personally opposed abortions, according to a 1992 article in The Baltimore Sun. He has since said he’s opposed abortion in nearly all instances and compared it to “slavery” this weekend.
Trump also struggled to explain the surge in Carson’s popularity, but was confident that he would be picked apart in the national spotlight.
“Well, I don’t get it,” he said of Carson’s rise. “You look at different things having to do with Ben and there’s a lot of contradiction and a lot of questions. We’ll have to see. One thing I know about a front-runner: you get analyzed 15 different ways from China.”