Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson vowed Sunday to forge ahead with his campaign despite intense questions over discrepancies about the personal narrative he has made central to his White House bid.
Carson soared to the top of the 2016 Republican presidential heap — where he remains with real estate mogul Donald Trump — with an inspiring story about his rise from a difficult childhood in Detroit to a successful career as a neurosurgeon.
But that retelling of his life — featured in his biography and in even in a made-for-television movie — has been questioned, as the US media challenged key aspects about his troubled adolescence and a disputed military scholarship.
The Wall Street Journal challenged coursework Carson says he took at Yale University, and said it could not corroborate claims he sheltered white students during a riot over Martin Luther King’s assassination while he was in high school.
Speaking to ABC television, Carson rejected any suggestion that he might make changes in his campaign as a result of the swirling controversy.
“Absolutely not,” he told the network’s “This Week” news program.
“Our campaign is the thing. We tell the truth, we deal with the issues,” he said.
“I’m not a politician, so you know, you’re not going to find me acting like a politician,” Carson added.
Carson told NBC News: “Being vetted and what is going on with me… I have not seen that with anyone else.”
The 64-year-old Carson, who is now retired from medicine, stood by most of his story Sunday — but left room for the possibility of some inaccuracies in his past accounts.
“Show me somebody, even from your business, the media, who is 100 percent accurate in everything that they say that happened 40 or 50 years ago,” he told ABC.
“Please show me that person. I will sit at their knee and I will learn from them.”
Carson said that what he called the “political hit job” by the media has backfired and is only serving to shore up his support.
“People are clearly able to see what’s going on,” he said.
And in a tweet late Saturday, Carson said the controversy has led to a fundraising bonanza for his campaign, saying he has received “10,000 donations each day this week, raising $3.5M this week alone.
“‘Thank you biased media’,” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump — while saying Sunday that he hoped the situation “works out” for Carson — did not miss an opportunity to take a swing at his opponent over what Carson himself has called his “pathological” temper and numerous episodes of violence, including trying to hit his mother with a hammer.
“When you write in a book that you have pathological disease — pathological disease is not cured,” Trump told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”