Neurosurgeon-cum-Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson made up his story about being accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, Politico reported exclusively Friday. Records show Carson, who has long claimed he received a scholarship to the academy in New York state after being recognized as the top ROTC student at his Detroit high school, did not apply there.
The Carson campaign confirmed to Politico Friday the candidate's story was false. “He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC supervisors,” campaign manager Barry Bennett said in an email. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”
Politico also reported it was unclear whether Vietnam commander Gen. William Westmoreland, whom Carson said he met on Memorial Day 1969 prior to the scholarship offer, was in Detroit at all that day.
Carson was polling in second place Friday behind billionaire Donald Trump. Carson had the support of 22.3 percent of likely GOP primary voters while Trump had 28, according to the HuffPost Pollster.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2015
The claim came from his book, "Gifted Hands," and the candidate previously has been asked about its veracity. In a Facebook post from August, Carson answered a question from Bill, who "wanted to know if it was true that I was offered a slot at West Point after high school."
Bill, that is true. I was the highest student ROTC member in Detroit and was thrilled to get an offer from West Point. But I knew medicine is what I wanted to do. So I applied to only one school. (it was all the money I had). I applied to Yale and thank God they accepted me. I often wonder what might have happened had they said no.
Media outlets have also expressed skepticism about other Carson anecdotes. Earlier this week, CNN reported his often-repeated claims of being a violent child and attempting to stab a classmate weren't entirely accurate. Carson shut down the reporters, saying: "This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I'm lying about my history. I think it's pathetic, and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted."