A member of President Donald Trump’s own Cabinet appears to be breaking with him in the GOP runoff in the Alabama Senate Race.
Hours before Trump travels to the state to headline a rally for Sen. Luther Strange, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson praised former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is vying for the GOP nomination. Trump has backed Strange, Moore’s opponent. Strange was appointed to the seat after former Sen. Jeff Sessions became the U.S. attorney general.
“[Moore] is truly someone who reflects the Judeo-Christian values that were so important to the establishment of our country,” Carson said in a Friday statement circulated by Moore’s campaign.
“It is these values that we must return to in order to make America great again,” Carson said. “I wish him well and hope everyone will make sure they vote on Tuesday.”
Carson’s statement was not a formal endorsement. (A spokeswoman for Moore said Carson is not offering an official endorsement due to his federal position.) But it does highlight a unique dynamic in the Senate race, where Trump is backing Strange, and some of Trump’s supporters and former advisers are backing Moore.
The Carson statement comes shortly before Trump will hold a rally for Strange in Huntsville, Alabama. Vice President Mike Pence will also be in the Yellowhammer State on Monday to campaign for Strange.
Strange’s allies hope the high-profile visits will boost turnout in the Tuesday election, which could favor Strange, who has been trailing in public polls.
Carson, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential primary, said he has come to respect Moore over the years and that Moore is “a fine man of proven character and integrity.”