After news quickly spread concerning Ben Carson’s lie about being offered a full scholarship to West Point, Carson called the Politico story an “outright lie,” saying that he never once claimed such a thing.
Except, he did.
According to Carson’s own words from his book Gifted Hands:
Later [after supposedly meeting General Westmorland] I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going. As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn’t really tempted. The scholarship would have obligated me to spend four years in military service after I finished college.
As the original Politico story noted, a spokesperson for West Point said that the only way anyone is offered a full scholarship to the academy is if they apply for admission and pass the rigorous vetting process. So, the only way Carson would have ever been “offered a full scholarship” would have been for him to apply for admission.
So, yes, for the words from Carson’s own book to be true, he would have had to “apply and be admitted” – which he’s now saying he’s never said. Except that’s exactly what’s written in his book, in some rather specific detail, including his decision to not accept the supposed scholarship.
This is clearly Carson in full-on damage control mode. The only options he had were to admit that he lied in his book (which would essentially put an end to his campaign) or do what he almost always does – attack the media and claim the story is nothing but propaganda.
Truthfully, this really has nothing to do with the media.
While Politico wrote the story, this is about Ben Carson’s own words being debunked by West Point based upon their process for offering full scholarships to individuals. This isn’t Politico making up quotes or taking statements out of context. In Carson’s book, he not only admits to being offered a scholarship, but he claims he turned it down. According to West Point, that’s impossible for someone to do if they never applied for admission – which Carson admits that he didn’t.
All Politico did was take Carson’s own words and fact-check them with the military academy’s process for admission, only to find out that it’s impossible that the presidential candidate would have been offered a scholarship without ever applying.
Even during his press conference he flat-out called reporters liars and repeatedly claimed that he never said he was offered a full scholarship. Again, this is an absolute lie because it’s literally written in his own book.
This is a classic case where the coverup of the lie is worse than the lie itself. By the Carson campaign trying to claim that the Politico story is an “outright lie,” what they’re really doing is accusing West Point of lying by stating that a person is not offered a scholarship unless they apply for admission – which Carson admits to not doing. Not only that, but his incessant outbursts at the media are becoming embarrassing. If he didn’t say such outlandish or ridiculous things, the media wouldn’t be digging into him as much as they are. But when you’re someone who claims that the pyramids were biblical grain storages; says that students facing an armed madman should rush the shooter; and claim you once tried to stab someone – you’re opening yourself up for intense media scrutiny.
But at the end of the day, there’s no gray area to this. In his own words, from his own book, Ben Carson claims he was offered, but ultimately turned down a scholarship to West Point. All Politico did was fact-check his claim with the school itself to find out that it’s not possible for someone to turn down a “full scholarship” to West Point when they never even applied.
All Carson did on Friday was come out, have an absolute meltdown in front of the media and do whatever he could to save the credibility of a presidential campaign that is now in serious doubt.