Ben Carson's claims about his past are being called into question by the media

By Tierney McAfee
November 06, 2015 03:10 PM
Laura Segall/Getty

Ben Carson‘s campaign admitted Friday that he never applied to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as he previously claimed in his 1990 autobiography, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.

Carson’s anecdote about being accepted to the school on a “full scholarship” played a key role in both his autobiography and in his tellings over the years of his personal redemption story.

But according to Politico, West Point has no record of Carson ever applying or being admitted to the military academy. When confronted with this information by Politico, the GOP presidential hopeful’s campaign confirmed that he in fact never applied to West Point.

“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. 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.”

This isn’t the first time Carson has courted controversy. Here’s a list of some of the retired neurosurgeon’s most eyebrow-raising claims and quotes.

1. Carson claims that, as a young man, he once attempted to stab a friend and another time tried to hit his mother with a hammer.
These claims have also been widely questioned, thanks in part to the fact that Carson’s accounts of the incidents have shifted over the years.

Most recently, in response to media allegations that he hasn’t been truthful about his violent past, Carson told reporters in Ft. Lauderdale that he used a “fictitious” name for his stabbing victim, CNN reports. And in an interview Thursday with Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly, Carson switched stories again, claiming that the person he tried to stab was a “close relative,” rather than a friend.

On Thursday a CNN investigation reportedly found no evidence to support Carson’s claims that he committed multiple acts of violence – also including brick-hurling, rock-throwing and baseball bat-beating – before his spiritually-motivated transformation from angry young man to soft-spoken neurosurgeon.

Carson declared the investigation’s findings “a bunch of lies” during an appearance Friday on CNN’s New Day saying, “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.”

2. Carson proposes separate bathrooms for transgender people.
Carson also came under fire this week for suggesting transgender bathrooms as a solution to the public debate over transgender people using public restrooms that correspond with their gender identities.

“How about we have a transgender bathroom?” Carson during an interview with Fusion‘s Jorge Ramos Thursday. “It’s not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable.”

3. Carson claims Egypt’s pyramids stored grain.
In a college commencement speech 17 years ago, Carson expressed his belief that Egyptian pyramids were used for storing grain.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said in a video that first surfaced on Buzzfeed on Wednesday. “Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it.”

RELATED: Meet all the 2016 Presidential Candidates

Carson defended his comments on the campaign trail Thursday, telling reporters in Miami, “Some people believe in the Bible, like I do. And don’t find that to be silly at all and believe that God created the earth and don’t find that to be silly at all.”

“The secular progressives try to ridicule it anytime it comes up and they’re welcome to do that,” he added, according to CNN.

At another campaign stop, he said, “I think that’s a plausible explanation to how they got built I happen to believe a lot of things that you might not believe because I believe in the Bible.”