epublican presidential candidate Ben Carson's recollection of being offered a scholarship to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point was questioned on Friday, potentially damaging the credibility of the 64-year-old retired neurosurgeon.
Also on Friday, Carson's account of how he attempted to stab a friend in his troubled youth came under renewed scrutiny.
Carson, a favorite of conservative activists, who is tied with Donald Trump at the top of Republican primary polls a year before the November 2016 presidential election, has often recounted both tales from his 1990 autobiography on the campaign trail, as he trumpets his rise from poverty in inner-city Detroit to the highest echelons of medicine.
Questions about Carson's account of the West Point scholarship came to the fore after a report by political news website Politico on differing accounts of the scholarship.
On Friday, Carson's campaign said he never sought admission to West Point, and Carson himself angrily denied suggestions that he had misrepresented the facts surrounding the West Point overture.
US presidential hopeful Ben Carson has attracted attention and some ridicule this week for saying Egypt's pyramids were built to store grain. As most schoolchildren know, they were actually tombs for pharaohs. But where did the granary idea come from, and would it even have worked?
Egyptian history isn't something American presidential candidates are usually quizzed about on the campaign trail, but this week Republican Ben Carson faced a barrage of questions after it emerged he believed the pyramids were built by the Biblical figure Joseph for storing grain.
This was revealed on Wednesday when Buzzfeed published a video of Carson addressing students at a Michigan university affiliated with his Seventh-day Adventist Church 17 years ago. But the famed neurosurgeon, currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, told inquisitive journalists that his views had not changed.
In March of last year, Dr. Ben Carson, the conservative star considered a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, appeared in a video for Mannatech, Inc., a Texas-based medical supplement maker. Smiling into the camera, he extolled the benefits of the company’s “glyconutrient” products:
The wonderful thing about a company like Mannatech is that they recognize that when God made us, He gave us the right fuel. And that fuel was the right kind of healthy food. You know we live in a society that is very sophisticated, and sometimes we’re not able to achieve the original diet. And we have to alter our diet to fit our lifestyle. Many of the natural things are not included in our diet. Basically what the company is doing is trying to find a way to restore natural diet as a medicine or as a mechanism for maintaining health.
Carson’s interactions with Mannatech, a nutritional-supplement company based in suburban Dallas, date back to 2004, when he was a speaker at the company’s annual conferences, MannaFest and MannaQuest. He also spoke at Mannatech conferences in 2011 and 2013, and spoke about “glyconutrients” in a PBS special as recently as last year.
Mannatech has a long, checkered past, stretching back to its founding more than a decade before Carson began touting the company’s supplements. It was started by businessman Samuel L. Caster in late 1993, mere “months,” the Wall Street Journal later noted, before Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which greatly loosened restrictions on how supplement makers could market their products. Within a few years of its inception, the company was marketing a wide variety of “glyconutrient” products using many of the same tactics previously described in lawsuits against Eagle Shield, Caster’s first company.