Former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan said Friday the Republican establishment is hoping that retired neurosurgeon Carson will come to its rescue and open “the door for Jeb and Rubio” by taking out Donald Trump.

“That’s why you’ll see a promotion of a Carson-Trump fight,” said Buchanan, who appeared on “The Laura Ingraham Show.” “This is a contract hit, an assigned hit, almost.”

“If you look at his past, which I’ve done, he wasn’t a big man of faith,” Trump said on CNN’s “New Day,” in a sign of the escalating hostility. “All of a sudden he’s becoming this man of faith and he was heavy into the world of abortion… he’s an okay doctor,” Trump continued.

“Do we plan to reach out to Mr. Trump? Absolutely not,” Carson advisor Armstrong Williams said Thursday on CNN’s “This Hour.” “Mr. Trump should reach out to Dr. Carson and apologize for what he said this morning, and hopefully if he does, Dr. Carson will reach back, this issue will be settled, and we can move on to the critical issues of this country.”

Buchanan said the same dynamic as the pumped-up Carson-Trump fight was at work when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, mired near the bottom of the polls in the GOP race, attacked Trump on Thursday as “shallow,” “narcissistic” and lacking substance.

“Bobby Jindal’s not doing very well politically, and he’s going on all-out attack on Trump,” he said. “He’s got nothing to lose. It does not look like he has any chance whatsoever breaking out. I think he’s still at the small table. So, he goes after Trump, and possibly, he gets attention. He’s going to be more on television … All of a sudden, MSNBC’s on the phone.”

Buchanan chided the National Review’s attacks on Trump as appealing to his “white nationalist fans.”

“It’s rip-and-read from the Southern Poverty Law Center,” he said. “The neo-cons, the National Review folks, are terrified of the idea of Trump, who they don’t have any hooks in whatsoever, winning this nomination.”

Buchanan drew comparisons between this year’s Republican race and the 2004 Democratic nomination battle that ultimately left then-Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts the last man standing. Buchanan said then-Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri cleared the path for establishment favorites Kerry and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

In the summer before that election, Democratic primary voters were infatuated with former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, just as Republicans now are enthralled with Trump.

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Gephardt, went to work blistering Dean. The attacks did nothing to help Gephardt’s own candidacy, but Iowa caucus voters ended up gravitating toward Kerry. And Dean’s meteoric rise was over.