Carson, meanwhile, added fuel to the debate as he escalated accusations Wednesday that Cruz supporters spread false rumors on caucus night that he was suspending his campaign.
At a Washington press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Carson said the Cruz campaign tried to “distort” information and claimed the interference impacted the outcome of the race.
Interviewed earlier on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Cruz apologized to Carson.
He said his political team had forwarded an initial CNN news report saying Carson was taking a break from the campaign trail, but did not forward an update to that same story.
“Unfortunately, they did not then forward the subsequent story, that was Ben’s campaign clarifying that he was continuing the campaign and was not canceling the campaign,” Cruz said. “And so I apologize to Ben for that. They should have forwarded that subsequent story. That was a mistake on our part.”
Carson told Fox News on Wednesday that while he accepts Cruz’s apology, “the question is what’s being done about it.” Carson suggested Cruz may be trying to “brush it under the rug.”
Early reports that Carson – who was directly competing with Cruz for social conservative and evangelical supporters – was leaving the campaign trail started to surface as caucusing began Monday evening. Upon hearing reports that their candidate was leaving the trail to return to his home in Florida, Team Carson responded swiftly, saying the retired neurosurgeon was only going home for clean clothes but was then headed to New Hampshire for the Feb. 9 primary.
But Carson said Cruz supporters and representatives took that narrative a step further, and told caucus-goers at “many” precincts that he was dropping out.
Carson finished a distant fourth in Iowa.
The Cruz campaign also took heat for campaign literature it sent out to potential voters before caucus night that seemingly accused them of voting violations over low voter turnout – and urged them to caucus Monday to improve their “score.”
Spokesman Rick Tyler earlier told MSNBC that Iowans are used to getting similar ones and that the campaign “modeled ours after them.”