Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was not offered a "full scholarship" to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as he has previously claimed.
POLITICO notes Carson wrote in his book, “Gifted Hands,” that his high school ROTC director “introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”
Theresa Brinkerhoff, a spokeswoman for West Point, told the news site there were no records that Carson applied or was accepted.
Additionally, West Point says it does not offer full scholarships.
Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett told POLITICO in an email on Nov. 6:
Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit. 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.
There are "Service Connected" nominations for stellar High School ROTC appointments. Again he was the top ROTC student in Detroit.
I would argue strongly that an Appointment is indeed an amazing full scholarship. Having ran several Congressional Offices I am very familiar with the Nomination process.
Again though his Senior Commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr. Carson did not seek admission.
Carson wrote in his 2015 book, “You Have a Brain,” about being in the ROTC and meeting Westmoreland: “I also represented the Junior ROTC at a dinner for Congressional Medal of Honor winners, marched at the front of Detroit’s Memorial Day parade as head of an ROTC contingent, and was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”
Carson also made the West Point scholarship claim on August 13 while answering questions on his Facebook page: "The next question is from Bill. He wanted to know if it was true that I was offered a slot at West Point after high school. Bill, that is true. I was the highest student ROTC member in Detroit and was thrilled to get an offer from West Point."
In addition to the controversy about West Point on Nov. 6, Carson had a contentious interview with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who questioned Carson's claims of his supposed violent childhood (video below).
CNN has not been able to verify any of the alleged victims, but reported that nine of Carson’s classmates could not recall the incidents that were described in his book and in interviews.