12 Mar 2016

Carson to get 'big part' for backing Trump

9:46 am on 12 March 2016

Former United States republican presidential contender Ben Carson has thrown his support behind frontrunner Donald Trump.

Dr Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who dropped out of the race 4 March, was the second former candidate to endorse Mr Trump after New Jersey governor Chris Christie did the same two weeks ago.

Donald Trump takes the stage as former republican nomination candidate Ben Carson adds his support.

Donald Trump takes the stage as former republican nomination candidate Ben Carson adds his support. Photo: AFP

Dr Carson made the announcement at a joint news conference with Mr Trump in Florida, ahead of that state's primary on Tuesday.

"We buried the hatchet. That was political stuff," he said at Mr Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club resort at Palm Beach.

"I have found in talking with him, that there's a lot more alignment, philosophically and spiritually, than I ever thought that there was."

The latest endorsement for Mr Trump followed a CNN-hosted Republican debate in Miami, and gave the New York real estate magnate a boost just days before the crucial party nomination contests.

Republican primaries on 15 March, in five states including Florida and Ohio, would be critical for Mr Trump to cement his lead.

They would also help determine whether US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida or Ohio Governor John Kasich would be able to continue with their increasingly long-shot candidacies.

Mr Trump told the news conference that Dr Carson had not asked for any formal role, but praised his former rival's ideas on education.

"Ben's going to have a big, big part," he said.

Dr Carson, who had some support last year in opinion polls but whose campaign failed to garner backing in the early nominating contests, dropped out of the race last week.

On Friday he said that Mr Trump was sincere in his talk about making America great again, and that he is on board to help him.