WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. presidential candidate Ben Carson recommended praying for rival Donald Trump after the real-estate mogul and television personality, in a 95-minute rant in Iowa, likened him to a child molester, Carson's business manager said on Friday.
"When I spoke with Dr. Carson about this yesterday how we should respond, you know he was so sad about it. He said: "Pray for him." He feels sorry for him because he really likes Mr. Trump," Armstrong Williams, who often acts as Carson's surrogate in the media, told CNN.
"To see him just imploding before our very eyes - it's just sad to watch," Williams said.
Speaking in Iowa on Thursday evening, Trump, a leading contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election, cast doubt on Carson's oft-reported story of lunging at someone with a hunting knife as a child, an episode that Carson says led him to his Christian faith.
"Give me a break," Trump said in a speech where he also lashed out at other Republican candidates and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. "How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe that crap?"
He said the incident showed Carson had a "pathological" temper.
"If you're pathological, there's no cure for that," Trump said. "If you're a child molester, there's no cure. They can't stop you."
Carson has said his intended stabbing victim's belt buckle blocked his knife, a detail Trump singled out in his rant.
"Lo and behold! It hit the belt. It hit the belt and the knife broke," Trump said mockingly.
"Now I have a belt," he continued, emerging from behind the podium and flipping his belt buckle up and down. "Somebody hits me with a knife, it's going in because the belt moves this way. It moves this way. It moves that way."
Another Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, sounded off on Facebook about Trump's comments early on Friday.
"Donald, sorry, I've got to interrupt again. You would know something about pathological," she wrote. "Anyone can turn a multi-million dollar inheritance into more money, but all the money in the world won't make you as smart as Ben Carson."
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Bernadette Baum)