Carson in Hot Water Over West Point Claim

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Oh hell. While I was busy nattering on about Ben Carson’s pyramid theory, it turns out that Carson was busily destroying his campaign. Or Politico was, anyway:

Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old 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 a “full scholarship” to the military academy.

West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission….When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.

Evangelicals love stories of youthful rebellion followed by redemption and a full Christian life. They do not like serious lies told many years after finding God. They especially don’t like lies about military service.

If Carson’s fans blow this off, then he’s truly invulnerable. There’s just no excuse. He told this lie in 1992, when he was 39 years old and already director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He wasn’t running for president at the time, so he figured no one would ever check up on it. He deliberately invented a story just because it made him look good.

Ben Carson is either a serial liar or else he lives a very rich fantasy life. At this point, I’m honestly not sure which.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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