WASHINGTON - Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson endorsed party front-runner Donald Trump Friday.
In a news conference in Florida, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said he had talked with Trump and found that "there's a lot more alignment, philosophically and spiritually, than I ever thought that there was."
Trump introduced Carson, describing him as a "special person" and a "friend."
Both men said they had moved past their criticism of each other during the campaign. "We buried the hatchet. That was political stuff," Carson said.
Trump has now received endorsements from two former challengers. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed him last month.
I endorse @realDonaldTrump. It’s time to unite behind the candidate who will beat Hillary Clinton and return government to, "We the People"— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) March 11, 2016
Carson suspended his campaign in early March after a string of disappointing finishes in nominating contests.
Carson's endorsement of Trump comes ahead of the Florida primary next Tuesday. The state is one of the main prizes in the 2016 race. The candidate with the majority of the vote gets all of the state's delegates necessary for the Republican nomination. Polls indicate Trump is ahead in Florida on the Republican side.