CLEVELAND — Ben Carson went there.

Addressing the Republican National Convention here Tuesday night, the retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate invoked Lucifer — and splashed into the headlines — in his critique of Hillary Clinton.

Former presidential hopeful Ben Carson warned against the progression of a secular agenda during a speech at the Republican National Convention July 19. (The Washington Post)

Carson insisted that Clinton’s college-age association with left-wing activist Saul Alinsky constituted a foreboding dance with the devil.

“Let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky. He wrote a book called ‘Rules for Radicals.’ On the dedication page, it acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom. Now think about that,” Carson darkly told the crowd.

Moments later, Carson once again hammered the point: “Are we willing to elect someone who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer? Think about that.”

In an interview Wednesday, Carson took eight questions from The Washington Post about those comments and his role in Trump’s orbit.

The Washington Post: Why Lucifer?

Ben Carson: Well, Lucifer is mentioned in that book as an admirable character, by someone Hillary Clinton greatly admires. You don’t just let something like that pass by and say, ‘Oh, well, that doesn’t mean anything.’ Things that she advocates are antithetical to Christian values: killing babies, redefining institutions established by God. My point is that this is her mentor, a person who admires Lucifer. And then you look at her actions and how they’re not consistent with Christianity but with the opposite of Christianity. You draw the lines to connect the dots.

The Post: So you’re drawing a line from the devil to Hillary Clinton?

Carson: I would just say that it’s not consistent with Christian ethics in the least. That’s the line that I’m drawing. Secular progressivism, which attempts to remove God from the public square, is not consistent with the principles that established this country.

The Washington Post: What was the vetting process for your speech, if any, within the Trump campaign?

Ben Carson: They have people who you work with.

The Post: But were you asked to change or revise your draft?

Carson: It’s pretty much my own words. You have people who help you think about the way you want to express your words.

The Post: You were part of the vice-presidential search team for Trump’s campaign. What do you expect to hear tonight from his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence?

Carson: He’s a solid conservative who has led a principled life. He has congressional experience — 12 years — and foreign relations experience. He has executive experience. He brings a lot to the table.

The Post: You’ve been part of the Trump campaign as an adviser for months. What do you make of Paul Manafort and his team?

Carson: Things are moving rapidly, quite frankly. When you’re a start-up, you don’t have a political organization or any kind of machinery. You think it'll get up and running. Eventually you do and I think it’s all working quite well.

The Post: Who do you deal with as a high-profile surrogate on a day-to-day basis? Is it Manafort or Trump?

Carson: I tend to deal directly with Donald Trump.

The Post: Am I missing anything about what you’re up to?

Carson: Probably [chuckles].