Ben Carson on Thursday told reporters that Armstrong Williams, his longtime friend who appears on television frequently to represent Carson, does not have a large role in the campaign.
“Armstrong is an independent agent,” Carson said, according to the Washington Post. “He happens to be a friend of mine. He has nothing to do with the campaign.”
Yet when asked who edited his recent op-ed in the Washington Post, Carson said Williams had read it over, according to the Post.
Williams, who has been identified as Carson’s business manager, has acted as a spokesperson for Carson and his campaign on several instances, including during the controversies over the retired neurosurgeon’s relationship with a medical supplement company and Carson’s claims that the Chinese are in Syria.
Most recently, Williams spoke to Bloomberg Politics about Carson’s relationship with Duane Clarridge, a national security expert. Clarridge, identified as an adviser to Carson, told The New York Times that Carson hasn’t been able to pick up “one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.”
Williams told Bloomberg that Clarridge was just one of many experts Carson has consulted since he launched his presidential bid.
On Thursday, Carson also distanced himself from Clarridge, describing him as a “consultant,” not an adviser, according to the Washington Post.
“Mr. Clarridge, I appreciate his service as a CIA agent, and he has sat in on two sessions,” Carson told reporters. “Does that make him a senior adviser? I don’t think so. He’s not one of the people that I talk to on a regular basis to get advice.”
Carson told reporters that his main adviser on national security issues is Robert Dees, a retired general who has said that the U.S. has been “infiltrated” by Muslim extremists and that the Common Core educational standards are a threat to national security.