Trump whacks Carson as neurosurgeon under fire for past remarks – Politico
Donald Trump is fully on the attack against Ben Carson, his top Republican rival in the polls, as reporting has called into question the retired neurosurgeon’s anecdotes about his violent past.
“Such bad reporting: A puff piece on Ben Carson in the @nytimes states that Carson ‘is trying to solidify his lead.’ But I am #1, easily! Sad,” the Manhattan businessman tweeted Friday morning about a Times article looking at Carson’s campaign on the ground. “With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stabb [sic] a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage – don’t people get it?” Trump added in a follow-up tweet, referencing the retired neurosurgeon’s past claims that he tried to harm his mother and friend before seeking redemption, as well as his belief that the biblical figure Joseph built the Great Pyramids of Giza to store grain and not pharaohs’ tombs.
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He also took a major swipe at Carson on Thursday evening, as Carson defended himself against the network investigating his stories.
“The Carson story is either a total fabrication or, if true, even worse-trying to hit mother over the head with a hammer or stabbing friend!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s tweets come after CNN published an article questioning several stories Carson told in his 1990 best-selling autobiography, “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” Recalling his “pathological temper” both in the book and in speeches and interviews since, Carson describes “punching a classmate in the face with his hand wrapped around a lock, leaving a bloody three-inch gash in the boy’s forehead; attempting to attack his own mother with a hammer following an argument over clothes,” according to CNN. He also described attempting to stab someone, only to be foiled by a belt buckle. The stories are part of Carson’s larger narrative of how he turned around his life and went on to become the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head.
In a contentious interview on CNN’s “New Day” on Friday morning, Carson blasted the media for being more critical and intrusive on his past than they were on President Barack Obama’s.
“What you all did with President Obama doesn’t even come close — doesn’t even come close to what you guys are trying to do in my case. you’re going to keep going back, trying to find, he said this 12 years ago. It is just garbage,” he remarked. “We have too many things that are important to deal with.”
Carson also responded to questions about past remarks calling some Americans “stupid,” explaining on Friday that people “who take the disadvantaged people in our country and say, ‘you poor little thing, I’m going to give you everything that you possibly need'” are the ones he was referring to at a November 2014 speech at the Richard Nixon library unearthed by Mother Jones earlier this week.
“That’s not helping those people, and all that you have to do is look what’s happened since the Great Society programs of Lyndon Johnson. We’ve spent $19 trillion and we have 10 times more people on food stamps, more people in poverty, more broken homes, out of wedlock births, crime, incarceration, everything is not only worse, it’s much worse. You’d have to be kind of stupid to look at that and not realize that that’s a failure and to say we just didn’t do enough of it,” he said. “That’s what I call stupid.”
In the same 2014 speech, Carson also remarked that the U.S. would be like Cuba without the presence of Fox News, though he pushed back hard against CNN’s Alisyn Camerota when she asked if he meant that the U.S. would be a communist country if not for the right-leaning cable news network founded in 1996.
“No,” he replied. “Again, there you go with sensationalism.”
Carson has credited his Christian faith with helping him overcome this volatile past — but CNN was unable to corroborate any of the details, and those who knew Carson described the self-portrait he painted in his book as “unrecognizable,” according to the network.
It isn’t the first time Trump has attacked Carson, who has surged in the polls in recent weeks and even overtaken the real estate mogul in several state and national polls. But Trump’s tweet appears to represent a new escalation in their duel for first place in the GOP presidential horse race.
The story and questions about his past have put Carson on the defensive, especially when asked by a CNN reporter on Thursday about who the victims are.
“Well, why would you be able to find them? What makes you think you would be able to find them? Unless I tell you who they are. And if they come forward on their own, because of your story, that’s fine, but I’m not going to expose them,” Carson said when the reporter pressed him at an event to promote his latest book.
Later on Thursday, during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” Carson said the person he attempted to stab is a close relative, but that he or she did not want their name released. That differs from earlier accounts, in which Carson described the person as a classmate, according to The Daily Beast.
“I’m not going to play that game with them. They can do it all they want. They’re going to go back and try to find anything that I’ve ever said and try to get me on the defensive about it in order to distract away from the things that are important,” Carson told host Megyn Kelly.
Carson declined to provide the names of his victims in order to “protect the innocent,” adding that those involved could come together on their own.
“So, you know, I would say to the people of America: Do you think I’m a pathological liar like CNN does, or do you think I’m an honest person? And I’m going to leave that up to the American people to make that decision,” he added.