Did Ben Carson Lie About Being Offered a West Point Scholarship?

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Fri, Nov 6 - 2:13 pm EDT | 6 months ago by
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GOP Presidential hopeful Ben Carson has been in the lead (or near the top) in most of the polls lately, but not without controversy. Many have been skeptical of some of Carson’s beliefs — particularly the one that Egyptian pyramids were built by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain. But the latest story is raising even more eyebrows. It seems that Carson’s story that a top U.S. general in the Vietnam War offered him admission and a scholarship to West Point was fabricated — at least partially — according to some news outlets.

Ben Carson on West Point
Photo by Johnny Louis/FilmMagic

According to Politico, West Point officials say that there’s no record of Carson ever applying to West Point, much less getting a scholarship offer. In his book, Gifted Hands, Carson says that, as 17-year-old, he met with General William Westmoreland in Detroit, and was later offered a full scholarship to the elite military academy. Carson says he turned down the admission offer because he wanted to pursue a medical career. The West Point spokesperson isn’t denying that Carson COULD have spoken to the general – but he wasn’t accepted to the academy and certainly wasn’t offered a scholarship (West Point doesn’t have scholarships technically, but appointments are free rides) — he didn’t even apply.

Carson’s campaign was forced to respond to Politico’s findings, saying that Carson DID meet with Westmoreland and that West Point’s officials had told him that he could be accepted to the academy based on his grades and ROTC performance.

“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.”

“Again though his Senior Commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr. Carson did not seek admission.”

What do you think about Carson’s West Point “scandal”? Was it a blatant lie? A simple embellishment of the truth for the book? Was it just a hit piece by Politico? And does it even matter?

Click through the gallery below to see where Carson and many of the other GOP candidates stand on the issues Americans care about.


Donald Trump

Learn more about where Donald Trump stands on the issues.

Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Ben Carson

Learn more about where Ben Carson stands on the issues.

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Ted Cruz

Learn more about where Ted Cruz stands on the issues.

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Marco Rubio

Learn more about where Marco Rubio stands on the issues.

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Scott Walker

Learn more about where Scott Walker stands on the issues.

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Jeb Bush

Learn more about where Jeb Bush stands on the issues.

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Rand Paul

Learn more about where Rand Paul stands on the issues.

Photo by Gerry Hanan/Getty Images for SXSW

Mike Huckabee

Learn more about where Mike Huckabee stands on the issues.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Carly Fiorina

Learn more about where Carly Fiorina stands on the issues.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
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