Ben Carson’s campaign has admitted to fabricating a central point in his inspirational personal story: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, reports POLITICO.
According to Politico, who initiated the inquiry into Carson’s claims, reported on Friday:
West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.
“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” said Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for the academy. She said West Point has no records that indicate Carson even began the application process. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such,” she said.
When presented with these facts, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.
“Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” campaign manager Barry Bennett wrote in an email to POLITICO. “In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”
“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett added. “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.”
The admission comes at a critical moment for Carson, as serious questions have been raised about other points of fact in Carson’s personal narrative have come into question, including claims that he attempted to stab a friend, throwing a rock at another kid, and trying to attack his mother with a hammer. He then said he had an epiphany and became the calm person he is today.
Details have also emerged that cast doubt on “the nature of Carson’s encounter with one of the most prominent military men of that era.”
In “Gifted Hands,” Carson says he excelled in his ROTC program at Detroit’s Southwestern High School, earning the respect of his superiors — just a couple years after anger problems led him to try to murder a friend. He attained the rank of second lieutenant by his senior year of high school and became the student leader of the city’s ROTC programs.
In May of his senior year, he was chosen to march in the city’s Memorial Day parade.
“I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, we had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present,” he wrote. “More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt” — his high school ROTC director — “introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”
But, according to records of Westmoreland’s schedule that were provided by the U.S. Army, the general did not visit Detroit around Memorial Day in 1969 or have dinner with Carson. In fact, the general’s records suggest he was in Washington that day and played tennis at 6:45 p.m.
In an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos from Miami on Thursday, Carson was asked about Tuesday’s defeat of a law banning LGBT discrimination in Houston.
“How about we have a transgender bathroom?” Carson suggested.
“It is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable. It’s one of the things that I don’t particularly like about the [LGBT] movement. I think everybody has equal rights, but I’m not sure that anybody should have extra rights – extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else,” he added.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, condemned Carson’s comments as “dangerously transphobic.”
“Ben Carson’s hateful comments are out of touch and all candidates should immediately make clear that they disavow his dangerously transphobic views,” Griffin said in a statement. “Ben Carson can’t go a week without invoking reckless and irresponsible stereotypes about the LGBT community, and his suggestion that transgender people be required to use segregated bathrooms echoes an ugly past our country should never revisit.”
Watch the interview below:
Earlier this week, Buzzfeed unearthed a clip of Carson sharing his own theories of why the pyramids of Egypt were constructed: they were built by Joseph, of the Old testament, to store grain, not as tombs.
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Dr. Carson told the graduating class in 1998 at Andrews University. “Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”
“And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how—’ you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.”
Watch the clip below:
In March, Carson said he believes that being gay is “absolutely” a choice because prisons prove people choose to be gay.
“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay,” Carson said during an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo. “So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
The former neurosurgeon argued that LGBT people do not deserve the same equal protection under the law because they could choose not to be gay.
“You can’t just say because it happened that way, this time this is the same situation,” Carson explained. “It’s not the same situation. Because people have no control over their race for instance.”
“You think they have control over their sexuality?” Cuomo asked.
“Absolutely,” Carson replied.
“You think being gay is a choice,” Cuomo pressed.
“Absolutely,” Carson said. “Because a lot of people who go into prison, go into prison straight, and when they come out they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
To be clear, The American Psychological Association says “there is no consensus among scientists” on how a person’s sexual orientation is developed.”
Watch that interview below: