Another Ben Carson tale implodes: No evidence supports claim he shielded white classmates from 1968 race riot
It’s getting hard to tell what’s up and what’s down these days with GOP candidate Ben Carson. In recent days, he’s come under scrutiny for claims he has made about his past that don’t seem to align with reality.
Now the Wall Street Journal has gone back to fact check a claim Carson made last month, in which he says he shielded white students from rioting after the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The Journal could find no evidence the event occurred.
“It may have happened, but I didn’t see it myself or hear about it,” Gregory Vartanian, a white high school classmate of Carson’s who was on ROTC with him and is now a retired U.S. Marshal, told the Journal.
In Carson’s account to the Journal last month, black students unleashed fury and grief over the slaying of King on white classmates at Detroit’s Southwestern High. As a junior, Carson had a key to the biology lab because he worked there part-time. Carson claimed he hid a few frightened white students inside to shield them from the unrest. He could not recall any of their names.
None of the half-dozen former classmates of Carson or his high school physics teacher could recall white students hiding from rioting the in the biology lab when interviewed by the Journal — though they all remembered the riot itself.
Barry Bennett, Carson’s campaign manager, told the Journal there was no evidence Carson’s claims aren’t true.
“There’s no facts saying they are not true. We are guilty until proven innocent,” he told the paper. “You have no reason to believe that they are not true. There’s no evidence to point to the fact that they are even questionable.”
Carson’s past has been increasingly raising eyebrows. Recently he came under fire for standing by a bizarre personal theory supported by no scientists that the Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical figure Joseph in order to store grain.
His claims to have been offered full scholarship to the elite military academy West Point were also called into question since West Point does not give out scholarships and all who attend do so free of charge.