Republican frontrunner Ben Carson is under fire today after Politico uncovered he lied about being accepted into West Point, the nation’s most elite military academy.
In his popular book, Gifted Hands, Carson talked about turning down a full scholarship to West Point in order to pursue his now-storied medical career. However, after attempting to verify Carson’s story with officials at the military academy, Politico found Carson’s account to be false.
“In 1969, those who would have completed the entire process would have received their acceptance letters from the Army Adjutant General,” Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for West Point, told Politico. “If he chose to pursue (the application process), then we would have records indicating such.”
Despite not even applying to the school, Carson’s campaign downplayed Politico’s findings.
“Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit,” Barry Bennett, Carson’s campaign manager, said 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.”
Bennett added: “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.”
The admissions process to West Point is extremely difficult. Applicants can’t even seek entry without first being nominated by a member of Congress or prominent government official.
It remains to be seen if this latest revelation about Carson will affect his rising poll numbers, but his closest rival, Donald Trump, called it a “big story.”