Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's campaign on Friday acknowledged he never applied nor was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point – a tale he included in his autobiography and that he has repeated since then, POLITICO reported on Friday.
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Carson’s campaign said the account of receiving a scholarship offer from the prestigious military school was a fabrication. The details of a scholarship were included in Carson’s account of a meeting with General William Westmoreland in 1969 when Carson was a high school student in the ROTC program, which provides preliminary military training for students interested in becoming officers.
"He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC supervisors,” campaign manager Barry Bennett told POLITICO 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.”
The revelation came only hours after Carson attacked the media for what he called a “bunch of lies” as he faced questions on Friday about his accounts of his violent past.
Carson, who is popular with evangelical voters, often speaks on the campaign trail about his flashes of violence during his youth, casting the lessons he learned from that period as evidence he has the strength of character to be president.
Rival Donald Trump, who Carson is neck-and-neck with for the top spot in the Republican presidential primary polls, quickly took to Twitter to attack the retired neurosurgeon.
“WOW, one of many lies by Ben Carson! Big story,” Trump wrote and included a link to the article in which Carson’s campaign acknowledged the fabrication.