Carson Campaign on West Point Controversy: ‘Politico Story Is an Outright Lie’

By Melanie Arter | November 6, 2015 | 6:44pm EST
GOP presidential candidate retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson (AP Photo)

The campaign for GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told the Daily Caller on Friday that an earlier report by Politico that the campaign admitted to “fabricating” his West Point story is “an outright lie.”

“The campaign never ‘admitted to anything,’” Carson spokesman Doug Watts told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Politico story is an outright lie.”

According to Politico, Carson claimed in his book, “Gifted Hands,” that as a 17-year-old he “was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by the offer of a ‘full scholarship’ to the military academy.”

Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for West Point academy, said those who completed the entire application process in 1969 “would have received acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” Politico reported, but there are no records showing that Carson even started the application process.

“Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit. 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,” Watts, Carson’s spokesman, said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller.

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors. 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. There are ‘Service Connected’ nominations for stellar High School ROTC appointments. Again he was the top ROTC student in Detroit,” Watts said in the statement.

“Again he was the top ROTC student in Detroit. I would argue strongly that an Appointment is indeed an amazing full scholarship. Having ran several Congressional Offices I am very familiar with the Nomination process,” Watts said.

“The Politico story is an outright Lie. Dr. Carson as the leading ROTC student in Detroit was told by his Commanders that he could get an Appointment to the Academy. He never said he was admitted or even applied,” Watts added. “The campaign never ‘admitted to anything.’”

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