Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson's campaign admits that the former neurosurgeon never received a full-scholarship offer to attend the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a claim that Carson wrote about in his autobiography, Gifted Hands.
According to Politico, in the book Carson says he was offered and subsequently turned down a full scholarship to the military academy when he was 17. Carson claims that 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 a 'full scholarship' to the military academy," Politico reports.
West Point told Politico that it has no records confirming that Carson ever filed an application for admittance, so therefore he couldn't have received a scholarship because he never applied to the school.
When Politico pressed the Carson campaign for an answer, it admitted that the story was false.
"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."
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 admission from Carson's campaign comes at a time when several news outlets have attempted to verify some of the Republican front-runner's tales.
In October, Carson noted that a man pulled a gun on him at a Popeyes in Baltimore, but he thwarted the attack by pointing the robber in the cashier's direction.
"I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeyes organization," Carson told Karen Hunter on Sirius XM Radio. "Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, 'I believe that you want the guy behind the counter.' "
The Carson campaign shut down any further questions about the incident after several news sites reported that they couldn't find police records confirming that the incident ever took place.
"The incident at Popeyes occurred over 30 years ago. Suggestions that Dr. Carson is lying are outrageous," Carson's deputy communications director, Ying Ma, told CNN in an email. "We will not entertain any further discussion on this issue."
Carson then went on the Sirius XM POTUS Channel later in the month to explain what happened. "I can tell you categorically as a God-fearing Christian, it's something that happened. It's not something I made up," Carson said.
Carson has not addressed the newest allegations but became defensive when questioned about the authenticity of several stories in the book Gifted Hands, including a tale that Carson almost killed his best friend, "Bob," when he was 14. He acknowledges that that wasn't his friend's real name, but he insists that the story itself is true.
"This is a bunch of lies, that is what it is," Carson said on CNN's New Day with Alisyn Camerota. "This is a bunch of lies attempting to say I'm lying about my history. I think it's pathetic, and basically what the media does is they try to get you distracted."