Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson called for a truce with front-runner Donald Trump on Thursday after the two traded personal barbs over their faith.
Carson, a former pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital who is polling in second place nationally, questioned Trump's faith at an event in California on Wednesday.
"I realize where my successes come from, and I don't in any way deny my faith in God," Carson said. "And I think that probably is the big differentiator... That's a very big part of who I am -- humility and fear of the Lord. I don't get that impression with him."
Trump, predictably, fired back.
"Who is he to question my faith?" Trump, a Presbyterian, asked in an interview on CNN. "He doesn't even know me. I don't know Ben Carson. "He was a doctor, perhaps an OK doctor, by the way -- you can check that out, too. We’re not talking about a great -- ."
Trump also questioned Carson's commitment to the anti-abortion movement.
By Thursday morning, Carson was dialing down his rhetoric -- and blaming the whole episode on the media.
"The media frequently wants to goad people into wars, into gladiator fights, you know," Carson, a Seventh Day Adventist, told The Washington Post. "And I'm certainly not going to get into that."
"Everyone is going to be saying, 'Oh there's a big fight, everyone come watch the fight,'" he said. "But it's just not going to be as great as they think, because I'm not going to participate."