PALM BEACH, Florida (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he and Donald Trump have “buried the hatchet” after months of political wrangling, and he is endorsing the GOP front-runner’s White House bid.

At a press conference in Palm Beach, Florida on Friday, Carson, who left the race earlier this month, described “two Donald Trumps” — the persona reflected on stage, and a private, “very cerebral” person who “considers things carefully.”

MORE: Full Coverage Of Campaign 2016

In his introduction to Carson Friday, Trump described the retired neurosurgeon as a “special, special person — special man,” and a “friend” who is respected by everyone.

Carson warned that it is “extremely dangerous” when political parties attempt to “thwart the will of the people,” and urged politicians to “strengthen the nation,” rather than create divisions.

Carson said in a statement on Wednesday of last week that he saw “no path forward” to the nomination for himself.

Several police officers struggled to arrest a man outside of the Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis, as protesters clashed with Trump supporters just before his noon rally Friday, CBS2’s Craig Boswell reported.

Trump has held on to his lead as GOP front-runner over remaining candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz  and John Kasich.

Cruz, who’s been closing in on Trump’s lead in national polls, made a campaign stop in Florida for a town hall meeting at a local church.

“My object is simple, we’re going to get 1,237 delegates,” Cruz said.

As for Rubio, he was focusing his attention on his home state of Florida.

“I can tell you that in Florida I’m the only one that can beat Donald Trump and if someone supports Ted Cruz or John Kasich, if you vote for them in Florida, you’re in essence voting for Donald Trump,” Rubio said.

Rubio said in order to beat Trump in Ohio, maybe he’s not the one to vote for.

“Clearly John Kasich has a better chance of winning Ohio than I do and if a voter in  Ohio concludes that voting for John Kasich gives us the best chance to stop Donald Trump there, I anticipate that’s what they’ll do,” he added.

The political stakes are high heading into the contests on Tuesday of next week – especially in Florida, where the winner takes all 99 delegates.

The most recent Washington Post poll showed Trump with 38 percent of the support in Florida, Rubio with 31 percent, Cruz with 19 percent, and Kasich with 4 percent.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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