EXCLUSIVE — Ben Carson: ‘Problematic’ Donors Fill Debate Audience

(L-R) Republican presidential candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Carson and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie participate in the Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm CollegeÊFebruary 6, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Sponsored by ABC News, the Independent …

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told Breitbart News that it is “problematic” if establishment donors and special interests fill the audience at GOP debates, as GOP frontrunner Donald Trump suggested during the Saturday debate, and again during his Sunday campaign rally.

“Do I recognize that we have big money involved in just about everything that has to do with politics? Absolutely. Do I detest that? Absolutely,” Carson told Breitbart News. “As president, I wouldn’t deal with them either. Obviously, if that is in fact true, I think that’s problematic.”

Trump – when booed by the audience during an exchange with Bush during Saturday’s debate – suggested the audience is filled with donors and special interests that support establishment-backed candidates, such as former governor Jeb Bush.

Trump made the same charge during a campaign rally Sunday afternoon at Plymouth State University.

“The room was loaded up … all the rich donors and special interests and the lobbyists got all the tickets,” Trump told the supporters at his rally. He personally knows most of the big, wealthy donors because he was one of them in the past, he said, adding that angry faces were looking at him, thinking, “How could you do this to us?”

A source from the RNC told Breitbart News that 75 attendees were RNC donors. The various candidates, the state party, plus St. Anselm, ABC, IJ Review, WMUR and Google all got ticket allocations for the 1,000-person room.

Trump said the donors should have donate money to veterans instead of sending their cash to Bush’s campaign.

Trump used the drug companies as an example of special interests in politics. He said the head of Johnson & Johnson is one of Bush’s top fundraisers.

“I blame the RNC for this,” Trump said about filling audience with donors. “I’m the one that brought all the action,” he added, referencing that he only receives 20 tickets to give to people for the debates.

“I’m a self-funder. I’m putting up my own money,” he reminded his supporters. “I’m $40 million maybe $50 million under budget, isn’t that nice?”

“You’re my friends,” not the donors, he told his audience. “Self-funding is a big deal.”


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