Ben Carson Campaign Admits Claim Of West Point Acceptance Is False

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks during a rally Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, at West Memphis High School in West Memphis, Ark. (Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal via AP)
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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has admitted another falsehood.

His latest: He said he was offered a slot at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a full scholarship.

In a bombshell report from Politico about his “application and acceptance” to West Point, the campaign confirmed Friday the academy has no record of Carson applying for admission.

Carson’s rise to the tops of national polls has prompted a closer look at his “very volatile” teenager to God-fearing man story by the press. CNN attempted to verify the story that Carson almost stabbed his friend “Bob” while Carson was a teenager; the network couldn’t and Carson conceded parts of his biography were “fictitious.” This week Carson criticized media for being “secular” when they refuted his claims that the Egyptian pyramids were built to store grain.

In the book that made Carson famous (and inspired a portrayal by Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.), “Gifted Hands,” Carson claimed he met and dined with Gen. William Westmoreland, who led U.S. forces in Vietnam.

When asked about the meeting, here’s what Carson’s campaign manager told Politico:

“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.”

“He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Bennett went on. “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 process to any of the U.S. military academies is lengthy and involved.

For admission to West Point, a potential cadet must be nominated by a member of Congress or other prominent government official, like the vice president, according to the academy’s website. There are no full-scholarships to West Point; all costs are covered. That’s because you are commissioned as an officer (second lieutenant) into the U.S. military upon graduation. You then serve five years on active duty; if you leave the Army after five years, you spend three years as a reservist.

A West Point spokesperson told Politico that it is possible Carson spoke with the general, but records provided by the Army showed Westmoreland did not visit Detroit on the day Carson wrote about.

As recently as Aug. 13, Carson wrote on Facebook during his weekly Facebook chat that he was “thrilled to get an offer from West Point” but said he only applied to Yale.

Bill, that is true. I was the highest student ROTC member in Detroit and was thrilled to get an offer from West Point. But I knew medicine is what I wanted to do. So I applied to only one school. (it was all the money I had). I applied to Yale and thank God they accepted me. I often wonder what might have happened had they said no.

Carson’s rival in his quest for the presidency, businessman Donald Trump, already jumped on news of the fabrication.

Politico issued a statement on Friday afternoon, via Erik Wemple at the Washington Post.

This post was updated

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