Carson Lied About West Point Admission


On several occasions, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson claimed he had received a “full scholarship” to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He even mentioned it in his best-selling memoir, Gifted Hands. But it turns out he never even applied for admission to the academy.

Carson’s campaign confirmed the news to CBS News on Friday.

Doug Watts, a spokesman for Carson’s campaign, said that though his “Senior [ROTC] Commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr. Carson did not seek admission.”

The confession comes after a West Point spokesman told Politico that the academy had no record of Carson’s acceptance, not even an application.

According to his memoir, Carson’s story of his acceptance to the academy began with meeting Gen. William Westmoreland, who commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam in 1969.

Carson wrote that as a 17-year-old ROTC student in Detroit, he had dinner with Gen. Westmoreland and was later “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,” Carson wrote. “As overjoyed as I felt to be offered such a scholarship, I wasn’t really tempted.”

The Carson campaign says he “can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer.”

West Point does not offer full scholarships. The cost of admission is covered by acceptance into the institution and the student is required to serve time in the military after completing his or her education.

When applying for admission into West Point, candidates must first obtain a nomination–usually from a member of the U.S. Congress or from a military official.

News of Carson fabricating the story comes as other details of his biography are being called into question. On Thursday, CNN investigated the retired neurosurgeon’s claims of his angry youth. The network could not find proof of any violent instances–like an attempted knifing of a friend that Carson mentioned on several occasions during his presidential campaign.

How much does this new-found fabrication impact your perception of Mr. Carson? Take our poll below.