Ben Carson lied about his history with West Point

ben carsonBen Carson.AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson reportedly fabricated a claim he made in his memoir about applying and getting accepted to the US Military Academy at West Point, according to Politico.

In the book, "Gifted Hands," Carson wrote about meeting a prominent US general and later being offered a scholarship to the institution.

"I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners," Carson wrote of a 1969 meeting with Gen. William Westmoreland, who had been in command of US forces in Vietnam.

"Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point."

But Politico looked into those claims, and found that West Point has no record of Carson ever applying, being offered a scholarship, or being accepted at all. His campaign acknowledged the claim was not true.

"Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit," campaign manager Barry Bennett told 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."

Carson has come under fresh scrutiny as he has surged to co-front-running status in the Republican presidential primary with real-estate tycoon Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed surfaced a Carson speech from 1998, during which he described an unusual theory about the Egyptian pyramids. Carson, saying he was drawing from the Bible, said he believes the pyramids were built to store grain. He has said this week that he still holds that view.

Historians, however, believe the pyramids were constructed as tombs for Ancient Egypt's pharaoh rulers, not to house grain.

Carson has also come under fire for alleged exaggerations about other incidents from his past.

In "Gifted Hands," Carson described incidents from his youth - such as attempting to stab a friend, throwing a rock at another child, and trying to attack his mother with a hammer. He said he then had an epiphany and became the more calm, soft-spoken person he is today.

"But nine friends, classmates, and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN they have no memory of the anger or violence the candidate has described," CNN's Scott Glover and Maeve Reston reported after looking into the veracity of those claims. "No one challenged the stories directly. Some of those interviewed expressed skepticism, but noted that they could not know what had happened behind closed doors."

Carson unloaded on the network during an appearance Friday morning.

"This is a bunch of lies," he said. "It's a bunch of lies. Attempting to say that I'm lying about my history. I think it's pathetic."

Colin Campbell contributed reporting.

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