Carson in November 2015
Benjamin Solomon Carson|
September 18, 1951
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Democratic (before 1981)
|Spouse(s)||Candy Rustin (1975–present)|
Yale University (BS)|
University of Michigan, Ann
|Net worth||$6–20 million (2015)|
Presidential Medal of Freedom|
Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal
Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr. (born September 18, 1951) is a retired American surgeon.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School, Carson has authored numerous books on his medical career and political stances, and was the subject of a television drama film in 2009.
He was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland from 1984 until his retirement in 2013. As a pioneer in neurosurgery, Carson's achievements include performing the first and only successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head, pioneering the first successful neurosurgical procedure on a fetus inside the womb, performing the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins, developing new methods to treat brain-stem tumors and reviving hemispherectomy techniques for controlling seizures. Carson became the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the country at age 33. He has received more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, dozens of national merit citations, and written over 100 neurosurgical publications. In 2008, he was bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Carson's widely publicized speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast catapulted him to conservative fame for his views on social and political issues. On May 4, 2015, Carson announced he was running for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election at a rally in his hometown of Detroit. In March 2016, following the Super Tuesday primaries, he suspended his campaign and announced he would be the new national chairman of My Faith Votes, a group that encourages Christians to exercise their civic duty to vote. Carson then endorsed the candidacy of Donald Trump. Carson has been offered the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump Administration.
Early life and education
Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Sonya (née Copeland) and Robert Solomon Carson, a minister and later Cadillac factory worker. Both parents came from large families in rural Georgia and were living in rural Tennessee when they met and married. Carson's mother was only 13 when she married Carson's father, who was 28. Carson's mother subsequently discovered her husband had another family, for which Carson's father eventually abandoned her. Following his parents' divorce, when Carson was eight years old, both he and his older brother, Curtis, were raised by their mother, who worked two or three jobs at a time, usually as a domestic servant. They were poor, and his mother occasionally relied on food stamps and other government assistance. Carson has stated that he spent much of his childhood in a very impoverished neighborhood in Detroit, but a good deal of his childhood took place in a middle-class neighborhood.
In his book Gifted Hands, Carson relates that, in his youth, he had a violent temper. He said he once tried to hit his mother over the head with a hammer over a clothing dispute and, while in the ninth grade, he attempted to stab a friend who had changed the station on the radio; the blade broke in his friend's belt buckle. After this incident, Carson said that he began reading the Book of Proverbs and applying verses on anger. As a result, Carson states he "never had another problem with temper". Some of Carson's narrative about this childhood violence was challenged during Carson's campaign in 2015.
Carson attended Southwestern High School in Southwest Detroit, where he participated in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), a program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces, and reached the rank of cadet colonel. Carson has said that he protected white students in a biology lab after a race riot broke out at his high school in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.
Carson does not say in his books whether he applied for and received a college student deferment during the Vietnam War. He does say that his older brother, who was a student at the University of Michigan, received a low number (26) in the first draft lottery in 1969 and enlisted in the Navy for four years instead of being drafted, whereas he received a high number (333) in the second draft lottery in 1970. Carson said he would have readily accepted his responsibility to fight had he been drafted, but he "identified strongly with the antiwar protesters and the revolutionaries" and enthusiastically voted for antiwar Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern in 1972. In his book, America the Beautiful (2012), Carson said: "The Vietnam War was, in retrospect, not a noble conflict. It brought shame to our nation because of both the outcome and the cause".
In 1973, Carson graduated from Yale University, where he majored in psychology. In his autobiography, Gifted Hands, Carson recounted that exams for a Yale psychology course he took his junior year, "Perceptions 301", were inexplicably burned, forcing students to retake the exam. Carson claimed that other students walked out in protest when they discovered the retest was significantly harder than the original examination, but he alone finished the test. On doing so, Carson claimed he was congratulated by the course instructor who told him the retest was a hoax intended to find "the most honest student in the class". Carson said the professor awarded him $10, and further claimed that a photographer for the Yale Daily News was present to take his picture, which appeared in the student newspaper with a story about the experiment. Doubts were raised about this story in 2015 during Carson's presidential campaign.
After medical school, Carson completed his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Around this time, as Carson later related to Karen Hunter of Sirius XM, he was held at gunpoint at a Popeyes restaurant in Baltimore.
In 1983, at the suggestion of an Australian colleague, he accepted the position of senior registrar at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (in Perth, Western Australia), spending one year there. Upon returning to Johns Hopkins in 1984, Carson was appointed the university's Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery. As a surgeon, he specialized in traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, achondroplasia, neurological and congenital disorders, craniosynostosis, epilepsy, and trigeminal neuralgia. He has said that his hand–eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning made him a gifted surgeon.
While at Johns Hopkins, Carson figured in the revival of the hemispherectomy, a drastic surgical procedure in which part or all of one hemisphere of the brain is removed to control severe pediatric epilepsy. Encouraged by John M. Freeman, he refined the procedure in the 1980s and performed it many times.
In 1987, Carson was the lead neurosurgeon of a 70-member surgical team that separated conjoined twins, Patrick and Benjamin Binder, who had been joined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins); the separation surgery held promise in part because the twin boys had separate brains. Both boys entered the hospital "giggling and kicking" in preparation for surgery without which, it was said at the time, the seven-month-old twins would never have been able to crawl, walk, or turn over. The Johns Hopkins surgical team rehearsed the surgery for weeks, practising on two dolls secured together by Velcro. Although follow-up stories were few following the Binder twins' return to Germany seven months after the operation, both twins were reportedly "far from normal" two years after the procedure, with one in a vegetative state. "I will never get over this . . . Why did I have them separated?" said their mother, Theresia Binder, in a 1993 interview. Neither twin was ever able to talk or care for himself, and both would eventually become institutionalized wards of the state. Patrick Binder died sometime during the last decade, according to his uncle, who was located by the Washington Post in 2015. The Binder surgery served as blueprint for similar twin separations, a procedure which was refined in subsequent decades. Carson participated in four subsequent high-risk conjoined twin separations, including a 1997 operation on craniopagus Zambian twins, Joseph and Luka Banda, which resulted in a normal neurological outcome. Two sets of twins died, including Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani; another separation resulted in the death of one twin and the survival of another, who is legally blind and struggles to walk.
According to the Washington Post, the Binder surgery "launched the stardom" of Carson, who "walked out of the operating room that day into a spotlight that has never dimmed", beginning with a press conference that was covered worldwide, which created name recognition ultimately leading to publishing deals and a motivational speaking career. On the condition the film would have its premiere in Baltimore, Carson agreed to a cameo appearance as "head surgeon" in the 2003 Farrelly brothers' comedy Stuck on You, starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as conjoined twins who, unhappy after their surgical separation, continue life attached to each other by Velcro.
Articles, books, business relationships, media posts
Carson has written many articles in peer-reviewed journals and six bestselling books published by Zondervan, an international Christian media and publishing company. The first book was an autobiography published in 1992. Two others are about his personal philosophies of success, which include focused, high-quality work and what he sees as the stabilizing influence of religion.
On August 7, 2002, Carson underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Interviewed in the following November, he said the surgery had successfully removed all cancerous tissue and he was completely cured of the disease. In 2004, in a speech at a Mannatech, Inc. event, he credited the company’s products with the disappearance of his cancer symptoms. According to CNN, Carson had an "extensive relationship" from 2004 to 2014 with Mannatech, a multi-level marketing company that produces dietary supplements made from substances such as aloe vera extract and larch-tree bark. Carson gave four paid speeches at company events. He has denied being paid by Mannatech to do anything else, saying he has been a "prolific speaker" who has addressed many groups. The nature of this relationship became an issue in 2015 during Carson's presidential campaign.
In July 2013, Carson was hired by The Washington Times as a weekly opinion columnist. In October 2013, Fox News hired Carson as a contributor, to provide analysis and commentary across Fox News Channel's daytime and primetime programming, a relationship which lasted to the end of 2014.
In financial disclosure forms, Carson and his wife reported income of between $8.9 million and $27 million from January 2014 to May 3, 2015, when he announced his presidential campaign. Over that period, Carson received over $4 million from 141 paid speeches; between $1.1 million and $6 million in book royalties; between $200,000 to $2 million as a contributor to the Washington Times and Fox News; and between $2 million and $10 million as a member of the boards of Kellogg Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. He resigned from Costco's board in mid-2015, after serving on it for more than 16 years. Carson was Chairman of the Baltimore-based biotechnology company Vaccinogen from August 2014 until the announcement of his US presidential bid in May 2015. Carson had previously served on Vaccinogen's Medical Advisory Board.
2016 presidential campaign
Background and increasing political visibility
Carson, who had been registered as a Republican, changed his registration to independent in the 1990s after watching Republicans impeach President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice regarding an extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky. "I just saw so much hypocrisy in both parties", he said. In February 2013, Carson said he was not a member of any political party.
In his book America the Beautiful (2013), he wrote: "I believe it is a very good idea for physicians, scientists, engineers, and others trained to make decisions based on facts and empirical data to get involved in the political arena."
Carson was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7, 2013. The speech garnered Carson considerable attention because the event is normally apolitical in nature, and the speech was critical of the philosophy and policies of President Barack Obama, who was sitting 10 feet away.
About the speech, Carson said: "I don't think it was particularly political... You know, I'm a physician". Regarding the policies of President Obama, he said: "There are a number of policies that I don't believe lead to the growth of our nation and don't lead to the elevation of our nation. I don't want to sit here and say all of his policies are bad. What I would like to see more often in this nation is an open and intelligent conversation".
Carson's sudden popularity among conservatives led to his being invited as a featured speaker at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He tied for seventh place in the Washington Times/CPAC 2013 Straw Poll with 4% of the 3,000 ballots cast. In the 2014 CPAC straw poll, he was in third place with 9% of the vote, behind senators Ted Cruz of Texas (with 11%) and Rand Paul of Kentucky (31%). In the presidential straw poll at the 2013 Values Voter Summit he and Rick Santorum polled 13%, with winner Ted Cruz polling 42%, and in 2014 he polled 20% to Cruz’s winning 25%.
In January 2015, The Weekly Standard reported that the Draft Carson Committee had raised $13 million by the end of 2014, shortly after Carson performed well in a CNN/ORC poll of potential candidates in December 2014, coming second in two different versions. He polled 10% to Mitt Romney's 20%, but in the same poll with Romney removed from the list, Carson polled 11% to Jeb Bush's 14%. The Wall Street Journal mentioned that the Draft Carson Committee had chairmen in all of Iowa's 99 counties, and that Carson had recently led two separate Public Policy polls for the state of Pennsylvania.
Announcement of campaign
On May 2, 2015, Carson proclaimed that in two days, he was going to make a major announcement on his decision on whether to enter the Presidential Race. In an interview with a Cincinnati TV station WKRC (AM) on May 3, 2015, Carson accidentally confirmed his candidacy for president. The interview was also broadcast live on WPEC. The next day, May 4, 2015, at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in his home town of Detroit, he officially announced his run for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The announcement speech was preceded by a choir singing "Lose Yourself" with Carson sitting in the audience. After the song, Carson took the stage and announced his candidacy alongside a speech on his rags to riches life story, at one point stating: “I remember when our favorite drug dealer was killed."
Surge in polls
In October 2015, the Super PAC supporting Carson, The 2016 Committee (formerly the Draft Carson Committee) announced it had received donations in mostly $100 increments from more than 200 small businesses around the country over the course of one week. Fox Business reported that "Carson's outsider status is growing his small business support base." Ben Walters, a fundraiser for The 2016 Committee expressed optimism about Carson's small business support base: "It’s unbelievable the diversity of businesses that we are bringing on. We are seeing everything from doctors’ offices and folks in the healthcare profession to motorcycle repair shops and bed and breakfasts."
In October, it was noted that Carson's "improbable" political career had surged in polls and fundraising, while he continued to participate in nationally-televised Republican debates.
Decline in polls
The campaign brought considerable attention to Carson's past. CBS News described Carson's narrative of "overcoming impossible odds as a child growing up in an impoverished, single-parent household to reach international prominence as a pediatric neurosurgeon" as "a key part of his presidential campaign." The Wall Street Journal said the narrative came under "the harsh scrutiny of presidential politics, where rivals and media hunt for embellishments and omissions that can hobble a campaign." CNN characterized the core narrative as "acts of violence as an angry young man," followed by a spiritual epiphany that transformed Carson into the "composed figure" he now portrays. Media challenges to a number of Carson’s statements included allegations of discrepancies between documented facts and certain assertions in his autobiography Gifted Hands—allegations dismissed by Carson as a media "witch hunt". In November 2015, the Detroit Free Press republished an article from 1988 "to try to bring some clarity to the claims currently being brought into question."
In November 2015, Carson's campaign aired a 60-second TV advertisement in which excerpts from Carson's stump speech were intercut with a rap by an artist named Aspiring Mogul. They spent $150,000 on the ads, which were aired in Atlanta, Detroit and Miami. Carson initially weakly defended the ad, saying "Well, there are people in the campaign who felt that was a good way to do things ... I support them in doing that, but I probably would have taken a little different approach." He then later said the advertisement was done without his knowledge, that "it was done by people who have no concept of the black community and what they were doing", and that he was "horrified" by it. A reporter pointed out that the advertisement contained an explicit approval statement from Carson, and he replied "Well, obviously. But you notice no more of those kind of ads coming out now."
Statements that Carson made regarding foreign policy called into doubt his familiarity with the domain. The New York Times reported in 2015, "Carson has acknowledged being something of a novice on foreign affairs". Regarding the Ukrainian crisis, Carson would send arms to Ukraine to aid it in its fight against pro-Russian rebels. He also believes the Baltic states should "get involved in NATO" (apparently unaware that they are NATO members).
In a November 2015 Republican debate, Carson declared his intentions to make ISIS "look like losers" as he would "destroy their caliphate". Carson also advocated capturing a "big energy field" outside of Anbar, Iraq, which he said could be accomplished "fairly easily". Regarding the Middle East, he also claimed that "the Chinese are there"; while in contrast, The Guardian reported that "there are no known members of the Chinese armed forces currently engaged in any conflict in the Middle East".
Carson said that he is not opposed to a Palestinian state, but questioned why it needs "to be within the confines of Israeli territory […] Is that necessary, or can you sort of slip that area down into Egypt?"
Withdrawal from campaign
On March 2, following the Super Tuesday, 2016 primaries, Carson announced that he did "not see a political path forward" and would not attend the next Republican debate in Detroit. He said, "this grassroots movement on behalf of 'We the People' will continue," indicating that he would give more details later in the week. He suspended his campaign on March 4 and announced he would be the new national chairman of My Faith Votes, a group that encourages Christians to exercise their civic duty to vote.
In total, Ben Carson's campaign spent $58 million. However, most of the money went to political consultants and fundraising rather than advertising. Carson questioned whether his campaign was economically sabotaged from within.
Further activities during 2016 election
On March 11, 2016, a week after Carson ended his presidential campaign, he endorsed Trump, calling him part of "the voice of the people to be heard." Carson's subsequent comments that Americans would only have to sustain Trump for four years if he was not a good president drew criticism and he admitted that he would have preferred another candidate though thought Trump had the best chance of winning the general election. On the other hand, at the press conference Carson stated that Trump had a "cerebral" side.
On April 16, Carson spoke favorably of the possibility of abolishing the Electoral College, believing it disregards "the will of the people". Later that month, on April 25, Carson expressed opposition to Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, the day after dubbing the replacement "political expediency", though he indicated interest in Tubman having another tribute. In late April, Carson wrote to the Nevada Republican Party, requesting the two delegates he won in Nevada be released and free to support whoever they want.
On May 4, after Trump wrapped up the Republican nomination, he hinted that Carson would be among those who would vet his vice-presidential pick. The same day, Carson in an interview expressed interest in Ted Cruz serving as either Attorney General of the United States, a position that Carson said would allow Cruz to prosecute Hillary Clinton, or a Supreme Court Justice in a Trump administration. On May 6, Carson said in interview that Trump would consider a Democrat as his running mate, conflicting with Trump's asserting that he would not. A Carson spokesperson later said Carson expected Trump to select a Republican. Carson was said by aide Armstrong Williams in a May 10 interview to have withdrawn from the Trump campaign's vetting team, though the campaign confirmed he was still involved. Later that month, Carson revealed a list of potential vice-presidential candidates in an interview with the Washington Post. On May 16, Carson said the media could not keep opinion out of reporting and cited Walter Cronkite as a fair journalist that was in his words a "left-wing radical."
After Donald Trump's win in the 2016 Ben Carson joined Trump's transition team as Vice Chairman. Carson was also offered a cabinet position in the administration. He declined, in part because of his lack of experience, with an aide stating, "The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency." Although it was reported that the position was for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Carson's business manager has disputed this, stating, "Dr. Carson was never offered a specific position, but everything was open to him." He was eventually offered the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, which he didn't decline.
Carson Scholars Fund
In 1994, Carson and his wife started the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards scholarships to students in grades 4–11 for "academic excellence and humanitarian qualities". They founded it after reading that U.S. students ranked second to last in terms of math and science testing among 22 countries. They also noticed that schools awarded athletes with trophies, whereas honor students only received "a pin or certificate."
Recipients of the Carson Scholars Fund receive a $1,000 scholarship towards their college education. It has awarded 6,700 scholarships. In recognition for his work with the Carson Scholars Fund and other charitable giving throughout his lifetime, Carson was awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership in 2005.
Carson and his wife, Lacena "Candy" Rustin, met in 1971 as students at Yale University. They married in 1975 and lived in Howard County, Maryland, before moving in 2001 to West Friendship, Maryland, where they had purchased a 48-acre property. Their house there included eight bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. Together, the couple have three sons (Rhoeyce, Benjamin Jr., and Murray), as well as several grandchildren. Their youngest son, Murray, was born in Perth, Australia, while Carson was undertaking a residency there.
In 2013, Carson, his wife, and Carson's mother moved to West Palm Beach, Florida.
Carson and his wife are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). Carson was baptized at Burns Seventh-day Adventist Church on Detroit's eastside. A few years later, he told the pastor at a church he was attending in Inkster, Michigan that he had not fully understood his first baptism and wanted to be baptized again, so he was. He has served as a local elder and Sabbath School teacher in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His mother is a devout Seventh-day Adventist. Although Carson is an Adventist, the church has officially cautioned church employees to remain politically neutral.
In an interview with Katie Couric, Carson said that Jesus Christ came to Earth to redeem the world through his atoning sacrifice and that all people are sinners and need his redemption.
Carson has stated he does not believe in hell as understood by some Christians: "You know, I see God as a very loving individual. And why would he torment somebody forever who only had a life of 60 or 70 or 80 years? Even if they were evil. Even if they were only evil for 80 years?". This is fully in line with Adventist teaching, which promotes annihiliationism.
Carson endorsed Seventh-day Adventist theology, which includes belief in a literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis. In a 2013 interview with Adventist News Network, Carson said "You know, I’m proud of the fact that I believe what God has said, and I’ve said many times that I’ll defend it before anyone. If they want to criticize the fact that I believe in a literal, six-day creation, let’s have at it because I will poke all kinds of holes in what they believe." Carson's Adventism was raised as an issue by his then-primary rival Donald Trump. Some Adventists have argued that Carson's political positions on gun rights and religious liberty conflict with historic Adventist teachings in favor of nonviolence, pacifism, and the separation of church and state.
Consistent with the practice of many Adventists, Carson is a lacto-ovo vegetarian (he will eat dishes containing milk, eggs, or cheese, and occasionally, poultry). He has said his main reason for becoming vegetarian was health concerns, including avoiding parasites and heart disease, and he emphasizes the environmental benefits of vegetarianism. His transition was made easier because he had eaten little meat for aesthetic reasons as a child, and he readily adopted his wife's vegetarianism because she does much of the cooking in their household. Speaking in 1990, he said that with the increasing availability of meat substitutes, "It might take 20 years. But eventually there will no longer be a reason for most people to eat meat. And animals will breathe a sigh of relief." To avoid causing others discomfort, he is willing to occasionally eat chicken or turkey, although he finds eating pork highly unpleasant.
Political and related positions
Abortion and human fetal tissue
Carson has described himself as pro-life, comparing women who have abortions to historical slave owners, and supports overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. He opposes access to abortion in virtually all cases, including pregnancies resulting from incest or rape, but would consider allowing its use if a woman's health is in danger. In August 2015, Carson said, "The number-one cause of death for black people is abortion."
After undercover videos recorded by an anti-abortion group showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the donation of tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research, Carson condemned the videos and argued that fetal tissue had no use in medical research, saying: "there's nothing that can't be done without fetal tissue." Subsequently, Dr. Jen Gunter, an ob/gyn and blogger – identified research that Carson himself had performed and published using tissue from fetuses aborted in the 9th and 17th weeks of gestation. Carson defended his past use of tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research in part, by stating, "to not use the tissue that is in a tissue bank, regardless of where it comes from, would be foolish. Why would anybody not do that?" Carson also told the Washington Post: "If you're killing babies and taking the tissue, that's a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."
Carson rejects the scientific consensus that human activity causes climate change; in November 2014, he said: "there's always going to be either cooling or warming going on", and he found the debate on climate change "irrelevant" and a distraction from protecting the environment.
In 2015, Carson expressed his disbelief about the scientific consensus on climate change, at a Commonwealth Club forum in San Francisco. After this statement, Governor Jerry Brown of California sent Carson a flash drive containing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Synthesis Report, which details the scientific evidence of human impact on climate change. Carson's response to the San Francisco Chronicle was: "There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused."
Budget and Social Security
Carson blames Washington politicians for the national debt and supports a balanced budget amendment to the United States Constitution, but has not explained how he would cut spending or raise revenue to achieve a balanced budget. In May 2015, Carson said that "I don't think we should even talk about entitlements until we fix the economy, and I think fixing the economy is not going to be difficult." Former head of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Holtz-Eakin criticized this statement, noting the U.S. debt is primarily "attributable to significant growth" in entitlement spending (i.e., Social Security and Medicare).
Carson proposed raising the minimum wage to receive Social Security benefits to extend the program's solvency.
In August 2015, Carson proposed instituting a flat tax on personal and corporate income, and a capital gains tax of 10%; Carson claiming inspiration by the biblical concept of tithing. Citizens for Tax Justice found that this plan would "raise only 32 percent of the revenue of the current tax system and pay for only 28 percent of estimated government spending" and "would increase the deficit by $3 trillion in just one year," even with every tax deduction eliminated.
Carson referred to progressive taxation as "socialism" in the first Republican primary debate, proposing that the U.S. abandon its current graduated personal income tax system in favor of a flat tax. Carson specifically proposed a 14.9% flat tax on both personal and business income, applying to income above 150 percent of the federal poverty level. Citizens whose income is at or below that level would be required to make an annual de minimis tax payment. Carson also proposed eliminating the capital gains tax, the alternative minimum tax, and the estate tax; and individual taxes on dividends and interest. The plan would do away with deductions and other tax breaks. Along with a flat tax, Carson has advocated for a national luxury tax on "very expensive" goods. Steve Forbes preferred Carson's plan over those of the other Republican candidates.
Financial and other regulation
Although most of Carson's economic policy beliefs reflected "current Republican orthodoxy," he diverged from other Republican presidential candidates in his support for reinstating Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era law that separated commercial and investment banks and was repealed in 1999. Carson believes the repeal of Glass-Steagall helped foster growth in banks that made them too big to fail.
Minimum wage and employment
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Carson initially said the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 should "possibly" or "probably" be higher. He supported a two-tiered minimum wage system, with a lower "starter" minimum wage for young workers. He also supported indexing the minimum wage to inflation, "so that we never have to have this conversation again in the history of America." At a Republican primary debate in November 2016, however, Carson argued against increasing the minimum wage.
In October 2015, Carson called the size of the federal workforce "absurd" and called for reducing it by attrition. In June 2015, Carson told a crowd of Republicans in Iowa that he was "thinking very seriously" about adding "a covert division of people who look like the people in this room, who monitor what government people do."
Carson praised the concept of free trade, but voiced objections to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, calling for the deal to be renegotiated, "because right now we have a lot of special interest groups who benefit."
In an October 2015 interview, Carson stated: "I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do. It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding on that basis." This controversial suggestion was criticized by various commentators, who questioned its constitutionality and practicality.
Carson asserted that the AP U.S. History overemphasizes wrongdoing (such as slavery, Japanese internment, and atrocities against American Indians) by the United States, saying: "I think most people, when they finish that course, they'd be ready to go sign up for ISIS."
In February 2015, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, Carson said: "I've found that homeschoolers do the best, private schoolers next best, charter schoolers next best, and public schoolers worst." On that basis, he advocated school choice. Carson was a critic of the Common Core State Standards.
Carson's views on evolution and creationism have been controversial. In a 2006 debate, Carson stated: "I don't believe in evolution... I simply don't have enough faith to believe that something as complex as our ability to rationalize, think, and plan, and have a moral sense of what's right and wrong, just appeared."
In a 2011 speech to Seventh-day Adventists, entitled "Celebration of Creation", Carson said Darwin's theory of evolution "was encouraged by the adversary and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct"; with 'the adversary' being interpreted as a reference to Satan. Carson also labeled the theory of the Big Bang as "ridiculous", saying, "Here you have all these highfalutin scientists and they’re saying it was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order ... I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing." Carson defended his comments in 2015, saying in regard to the scientific concepts, "I'm not going to denigrate you because of your faith and you shouldn't denigrate me for mine."
In 2014, Carson rejected the validity of carbon dating, as it "really doesn't mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time". Carson further argued against evolution, stating his disbelief in the possibility of the "complexity of the human brain" arising "from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals".
In October 2015, Carson stated that he does accept the idea of natural selection, but there is only evidence for microevolution (changes in allele frequencies that occur over time within a species), which he believes was the result of "a wise creator who gave his creatures the ability to adapt to their environment so that he wouldn't have to start over every 50 years", whereas "there's never been one species that's turned into another species, that can be proved."
Firearms regulation and Nazi Germany comparisons
Carson stated in 2013 that semi-automatic firearms should be better regulated in large cities and high-crime areas. This statement attracted criticism from conservative opponents of gun control. Carson has declined to backtrack from that view, but says he is strongly in favor of the Second Amendment, and while guns being used on innocent people was "horrible" but "not nearly as horrible as having a population that is defenseless against a group of tyrants who have arms..." Carson made similar remarks in October 2015. Carson stated on the campaign trail also said that if he were in a position of national authority, he would allow citizens to own any weapons, including automatic and semi-automatic guns, that they could legally buy.
Carson has advanced the Nazi gun control theory, asserting in his book, A Perfect Union, that gun control made it easier for the Holocaust to occur: "Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating deceitful propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance." In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Carson made similar claims. Holocaust historian Alan E. Steinweis called Carson's stance "strangely ahistorical" because "no serious work of scholarship on the Nazi dictatorship or on the causes of the Holocaust" features "Nazi gun control measures...as a significant factor." Jonathan Greenblatt, national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also criticized the remarks, calling them "mind-bending."
Free speech and Nazi Germany comparisons
In March 2014, when asked about his previous claim that Americans were living "in a Gestapo age", Carson said that the United States is "very much like Nazi Germany ... [there] you had a government using its tools to intimidate a population." Carson stated that the "PC police" as well as politicians and the media "stifle people's conversation" and make them "afraid to say what they actually believe."
In October 2015, Carson said he would "beg to differ" with people who thought America would never become something akin to Nazi Germany; stating: "If you go back and look at the history of the world, tyranny and despotism and how it starts, it has a lot to do with control of thought and control of speech." When questioned about whether he was comparing President Obama to Hitler, Carson said: "No. I am saying in a situation where people do not express themselves, bad things can happen."
In the same month, The Washington Post called Carson "the biggest fan of Nazi metaphors in politics" in America, noting that Carson "doesn't shy away from holding up Nazi Germany as a dire warning of the slippery slope America is on" and had invoked Nazi Germany or Hitler in comments on various topics, including American society and "how a general population kept their mouth shut"; Obama supporters; socialists; gun rights; and Planned Parenthood.
Carson has been critical of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying in 2013 that "Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery ... And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control." As an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, Carson said in 2013: "Here's my solution. When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account." In arguing that the Affordable Care Act gave the government "control of the people," Carson several times invoked a spurious quote from Vladimir Lenin.
In a December 2014 op-ed for The Washington Times, Carson wrote: "we need to remove health care from the political arena and recognize that any government proposals affecting the health of all citizens should be free market-based and should be so appealing that it would not be necessary to force citizens into the program."
As a presidential candidate, Carson supported abolishing Medicare and Medicaid, moving dollars out of these "traditional health care" programs to fund new health savings accounts. Carson proposed having the government contribute $2,000 to each individual's account annually, with individuals and employers permitted to contribute additional funds to the accounts, and unspent funds being allowed to be shared within a family. Carson has said that his plan "makes every family have their own insurance company." Carson estimated that his plan would cost the federal government $630 billion annually; this figure, however, does not account for population growth, inflation, or administrative costs.
Separately, Carson called in a 2014 op-ed for a system "similar to Medicare and Medicaid" for a group that Carson terms the "5 percent of patients with complex pre-existing or acquired maladies." The cost of this system is not factored into Carson's $630 billion figure. In October 2015, Carson said if someone preferred the current Medicare or Medicaid programs to the health-savings-account approach, "I'm not going to deny you the privilege of doing that."
In a 1992 essay published in the Harvard Journal of Minority Public Health, Carson wrote that technological advancement will eventually lead to many people surviving their 100th birthdays, and questioned the merits of prolonging life, citing the fact that "up to half of the medical expenses incurred in the average American's life are incurred during the last six months of life". and noting the advantages of "dignity of dying in comfort" in a home setting. Carson advocated for a partially-government run plan, writing that on end-of-life care: "Decisions on who should be treated and who should not be treated would clearly require some national guidelines." In January 2015, Carson stated that his views have evolved since 1992.
History of ancient Egypt
In a 1998 commencement speech at Andrews University, Carson publicly expressed the view that the Pyramids of Giza were not tombs, but grain silos built by Joseph, the Biblical son of Jacob, in preparation for the famine depicted in the Book of Genesis. He added that "various scientists" say ancient aliens could have designed the structures, but to Carson, "it doesn't require an alien being when God is with you". Popular in medieval Europe, the belief that Joseph had the pyramids built as granaries was perpetuated by, among others, Gregory of Tours in the sixth century, an Irish monk in the ninth century named Bernard, a mosaic in St. Mark's Basilica dating from the twelfth, and the travelogue attributed to John Mandeville in the fourteenth.
In 2015, Carson reiterated his views on the Egyptian pyramids. Archaeologists reject the notion that the pyramids were used to store grain, noting that the pyramids were not hollow, ancient Egyptian granaries have been well-studied, there is evidence of burials inside the pyramids, and the ancient Egyptians left funerary instructions inside them. Additionally, the Bible states that Joseph's grain was kept in cities.
In the Washington Times, Carson wrote: "Once illegals have legal status, it will be difficult to deny them any of the multitudinous entitlements that are freely distributed throughout our society." Carson believes that illegal immigrants should be able to register as guest workers and have a pathway to apply for permanent resident status.
In August 2015, Carson suggesting using drones to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Carson said he did not favor "killing people" with drones, but favored using drones for surveillance and strikes to eliminate "the caves that are utilized to hide people" illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.
In September 2015, Carson said that due to the difficulty in deporting illegal immigrants, he would instead prioritize sealing the borders of the United States, which "in the Carson administration that would be done in the first year". He also said that "you have to also turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies so that people don't have any incentive to come here".
In November 2015, Carson twice likened Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs" and suggested that they posed a risk to American society.
Marijuana and drug policy
In 2014, Carson said that "I think medical use of marijuana in compassionate cases certainly has been proven to be useful" but said that he opposed legalization of recreational marijuana. Carson believes marijuana is a gateway drug. On the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, Carson said "I don't think this is something that we really want for our society. You know, we're gradually just removing all the barriers to hedonistic activity and you know, it's just, we're changing so rapidly to a different type of society and nobody is getting a chance to discuss it because, you know, it's taboo."
Marriage and LGBT issues
In March 2013, Carson described his views about same-sex marriage on Hannity, saying: "Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition." The comments caused controversy. GLAAD criticized Carson for having "equated gays" with those from the North American Man/Boy Love Association and supporters of bestiality. A number of students at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, "enraged by Carson's comparison of homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia," called upon Carson to withdraw as a commencement speaker. Carson withdrew as speaker and apologized for his remarks, saying that he was not equating those groups. He said:
You know, as a Christian... I have a duty to love all people and that includes people who have other sexual orientations, and I certainly do, and never had any intention of offending anyone. What I was basically saying, and if anybody was offended, I apologize to you. But what I was basically saying is that there is no group. I wasn’t equating those things. I don’t think they’re equal. Just, you know, if you ask me for apple and I give you an orange you would say, well that’s not an orange. And then I say, that’s a banana, that’s not an apple either. And there’s a peach, that’s not an apple, either. But it doesn’t mean that I’m equating the banana and the orange and the peach. And in the same way I’m not equating those things.
Carson further said "the examples were not the best choice of words" and that the Bible "says we have an obligation to love our fellow man as ourselves, and I love everybody the same—all homosexuals." According to Carson, "I was trying to say that as far as marriage was concerned, it has traditionally been between a man and a woman and no one should be able to change that." Carson continued to clarify his comments in later years: "That point was if you change the definition of marriage for one group, you’ll have to change it for the next group and the next group", which was characterized as a slippery slope argument by The Washington Post.
In a 2015 Facebook post, Carson wrote that he supports civil unions for gay couples and he has "for many years". Carson, while on the boards for Costco and food manufacturer Kellogg's, supported initiatives for employment non-discrimination, health insurance for domestic partners, and diversity training.
Later in 2015, reacting to an ordinance in Houston, Texas that would have permitted those who are transgender to enter a bathroom designated for the gender with which they identify, Carson proposed the idea of transgender bathrooms, saying: "It is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable. ... I think everybody has equal rights, but I'm not sure that anybody should have extra rights – extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else and imposing your view on everybody else."
In a March 2015 interview with Chris Cuomo, Carson stated he believes homosexuality is a choice, saying: "a lot of people go into prison straight, and when they come out, they're gay". Later, in a Facebook post, Carson wrote that he "realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues. I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended."
In October 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) added Carson to its "anti-gay extremist" list, citing Carson's "linking gays with pedophiles" and other comments; in February 2015, the SPLC removed Carson's name from its list and apologized to him.
Foreign affairs and defense
In 2015, Carson's "main national security adviser" was Robert F. Dees, a retired Army major general who, like Carson, argues that national security is linked to spiritual values. Dees wrote in his book Resilient Nations (2014) that the greatest threat to America was not terrorism, China, or Russia but rather the decline of its "spiritual infrastructure". Dees writes:
At the height of Roman decadence, good became evil and evil became good... One can rightly argue that the United States is frightfully close to a similar fate. Prayerfully, it is not too late.
In several interviews, Carson has endorsed the views of the political theorist W. Cleon Skousen, an author popular among Tea Party supporters, recommending Skousen's book The Naked Communist (1958). In a July 2014 interview, Carson cited Skousen and suggested that nefarious Marxist forces were plotting to use the mainstream media to undermine the United States, saying: "There was a guy who was a former CIA agent by the name of Cleon Skousen who wrote a book in 1958 called The Naked Communist, and it laid out the whole agenda. You would think by reading it that it was written last year—showing what they're trying to do to American families, what they're trying to do to our Judeo-Christian faith, what they're doing to morality." An endorsement from Carson appears on the front cover of the most recent edition of Skousen's book. Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who served in the last three Republican administrations, said that Carson views Skousen's work as "an interpretive key to America today."
Carson has expressed a number of often contradictory positions on the role of the United States in the Syrian Civil War. Carson initially opposed the Obama administration's proposed military intervention in Syria in September 2013, claiming that the rebels it would be in support of posed a national security threat to the United States and Israel, and disputing the allegation that the Syrian government was responsible for the use of chemical weapons.
By September 2015, Carson had changed his position on the Assad regime, calling for forcing ISIL out of Iraq in order to allow the group to focus on overthrowing the Assad regime, whilst continuing to advocate non-intervention in Syria. Carson then staked out a more aggressive position in October 2015, advocating for the imposition of a no-fly zone along Syria's northern border with Turkey and continued military and intelligence support for anti-Assad rebels as a means of countering Russian influence in the region.
In November 2015, Carson once again opposed U.S. assistance to Syrian rebels, instead supporting a political solution in Syria, culminating in a coalition government that would include Assad. He justified his new position by criticizing the United States' support for rebels in the first Libyan Civil War.
Religious freedom and separation of church and state
In a 2014 op-ed article, Carson argued that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause has been "reinterpreted" by progressives away from its original intent, writing that "our Judeo-Christian values have taken a big hit in recent years" although "we have not yet reached the point of a totally godless government." He said in May 2015: "To try to impose one's religious beliefs on someone else is absolutely what we should not be doing. That goes in both directions."
During a September 2015 Meet the Press interview, in response to Chuck Todd's question "Should a President's faith matter [to voters]?," Carson said that if a faith is "inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter." Todd continued with, "So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?" to which Carson said, "No, I don't, I do not [believe so]. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that." However, Carson maintained that sharia (Islamic law) is "something that is against the rights of women, against the rights of gays, subjugates other religions, and a host of things that are not compatible with our Constitution." In a subsequent interview, Carson said that "anybody, doesn't matter what their religious background, if they accept American values and principles and are willing to subjugate their religious beliefs to our Constitution. I have no problem with them."
Awards and honors
Carson is a member of the American Academy of Achievement, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. Carson has been awarded 38 honorary doctorate degrees and dozens of national merit citations. Detroit Public Schools opened the Dr. Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine for students interested in pursuing healthcare careers. The school is partnering with Detroit Receiving Hospital and Michigan State University.
- In 2000, he received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
- In 2001, he was elected by the Library of Congress on the occasion of its 200th anniversary to be one of the 89 who earned the designation Library of Congress Living Legend.
- In 2004, he was appointed to serve on The President's Council on Bioethics.
- In 2005, Carson was awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.
- In 2006, he received the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, their highest honor for outstanding achievement.
- In 2008, the White House awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
- In 2008, Ford's Theatre Society awarded Carson the Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal, for exemplifying the qualities embodied by President Abraham Lincoln—including courage, integrity, tolerance, equality, and creative expression—through superior achievements.
- In 2008, U.S. News & World Report named Carson as one of "America's Best Leaders".
- In 2010, he was elected into the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
- In 2012, Carson was the Influential Marylander Award recipient from The Daily Record, Baltimore's legal and business newspaper.
- In 2014, a poll of Americans conducted by Gallup ranked Carson sixth on a list of the most admired men in the world.
- He is an emeritus fellow of the Yale Corporation.
Books by Carson
- Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. Zondervan. 1992. ISBN 978-0-310-54651-1. (with Cecil Murphey)
- Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence. Zondervan. 1996. ISBN 0-310-21459-9.
- The Big Picture: Getting Perspective on What's Really Important in Life. Zondervan. 2000. ISBN 978-0-310-22583-6. (with Gregg Lewis)
- Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. Zondervan. 2009. ISBN 0-310-25973-8.
- America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great. Thomas Nelson. 2013. ISBN 0-310-33091-2. (with Candy Carson)
- One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future. Sentinel. 2014. ISBN 1-59523-112-9. (with Candy Carson), on the New York Times bestsellers list for 20 straight weeks, with 5 weeks as #1
- One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard. Tyndale House. 2014. ISBN 1-4964-0632-X. (with Candy Carson)
- You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. 2015. ISBN 0-310-74599-3. (with Gregg Lewis, Deborah Shaw Lewis)
- My Life: Based on the Book Gifted Hands. Zondervan. 2015. ISBN 0-310-34451-4. (with Cecil Murphey)
- A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties. 2015. ISBN 978-0-698-19500-4. (with Candy Carson)
Biographical works about Carson
- Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (February 7, 2009), a television movie with the same title as Carson's first book premiered on TNT with Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. in the lead role and Kimberly Elise portraying his mother.
- A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson (January 5, 2016), a book by Candy Carson
- In his autobiography Gifted Hands, Carson wrote that, in his youth, he had a violent temper. "As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks, and bricks, and baseball bats, and hammers," Carson told NBC's Meet the Press in October 2015. He said he once tried to hit his mother over the head with a hammer over a clothes dispute and, while in the ninth grade, he attempted to stab a friend who had changed the station on the radio, and the blade broke in his friend's belt buckle. Carson has claimed that the intended victim, whose identity he wants to protect, was a classmate, a friend, or a close relative in different versions of the story. Carson said that after this incident he began reading the Biblical Book of Proverbs and applying its verses on anger, and as a result, he "never had another problem with temper". In his various books and at campaign events, Carson repeated these claims and said he once attacked a schoolmate with a combination lock. But nine friends, classmates, and neighbors who grew up with Carson told CNN in 2015 they did not remember the anger or violence Carson has described; all expressed surprise about the incidents Carson said had happened. In response, Carson posted on Facebook what he said was a 1997 Parade Magazine issue, in which his mother verified the stabbing incident. Carson then questioned the extent of the effort CNN had exerted in the investigation.
- The Wall Street Journal confirmed the riot but could not find anyone who remembered Carson sheltering white students. Reportedly, Carson could also not remember the names of any of the students he claimed he had helped but has said perhaps they will verify the incident, eventually.
- On November 6, 2015, Politico reported a story challenging that narrative: West Point has no record of Carson's ever seeking admission. Furthermore, the academy does not award scholarships to anyone; cadets receive a free education and room and board in exchange for a commitment to serve in the military for at least five years after graduation. In the same autobiography, Carson claimed he had dinner with General William Westmoreland on Memorial Day in Detroit, in 1969. Pentagon records, however, show that Westmoreland was not in Detroit on that date or the preceding or following days. According to those records, Westmoreland was in Washington, D.C. on the evening in question, engaged in a "boat ride on the Potomac". In one book, Carson also said the University of Michigan had offered him a scholarship. However, his staff later said that the described scenario was similar to that of West Point, as he never actually applied for entry to the University of Michigan.
- The Wall Street Journal attempted to verify Carson's account, reporting that Yale undergraduate courses were identified with only two digits in the early 1970s, and that Yale offered no course called "Perceptions 301" at that time. Carson's photo never appeared in the Yale Daily News, the Journal reported. Carson, while acknowledging the class number was not correct, said: "You know, when you write a book with a co-writer and you say that there was a class, a lot of [the] time they’ll put a number or something just to give it more meat. You know, obviously, decades later, I’m not going to remember the course number." On Facebook, Carson posted a link to a syllabus titled "Perception" on Yale's website, used for the course "Psychology 323b" offered in Spring 2002, three decades after the incident described in Carson's book. Carson stated that he was waiting for an apology from The Wall Street Journal and questioned how they, with all their investigative capacities, were unable to find the syllabus. To further bolster the veracity of his Gifted Hands account, Carson also posted to Facebook a Yale Daily News article published January 14, 1970, during his freshman year. The article described a parody issue of the Yale Daily News which had been created and distributed the day before by campus humor magazine The Yale Record. The parody issue had included an announcement that exams for Psychology 10 had been destroyed, and students were required to take a make-up exam that evening in a classroom named in the article. According to the Yale Daily News, a number of students were fooled by the humor magazine's prank and showed up to take the test, which was said to closely resemble the course's real exam. Carson was not named in the 1970 Yale Daily News article, his photograph was not published, and no faculty member was reported to have cooperated with the prank. In 2015, several Yale alumni who remembered the 1970 prank came forward, verifying that a student who worked for the Yale Record had impersonated an exam proctor, and that small cash awards were indeed given to students who finished the hoax exam.
- Armstrong Williams, Carson's campaign business manager, later told Wolf Blitzer of CNN that several people in the neighborhood chased the robber down the street. Neither the Baltimore police department nor Popeyes could corroborate Carson's story, since no police report had been found.
- Carson’s relationship with Mannatech continued after the company paid $7 million in 2009 to settle a deceptive-marketing lawsuit, in Texas, over claims that its products could cure autism and cancer. His most recent paid speech for the company was in 2013, for which he was paid $42,000. His image appeared on the corporation's website in 2014, and in the same year he praised their "glyconutrient" supplements in a PBS special that was subsequently featured on the site. Carson delivered the keynote address at a Mannatech distributor convention in 2011, during which he said the company had donated funds to help him obtain a coveted endowed chair post at Johns Hopkins Medicine: "... three years ago I had an endowed chair bestowed upon me and uh, it requires $2.5 million to do an endowed chair and I'm proud to say that part of that $2.5 million came from Mannatech." In October 2015, Carson's campaign team said "there was no contribution from Mannatech to Johns Hopkins", and his statement had been "a legitimate mistake on his part. Confusion. He had been doing some fundraising for the hospital and some other chairs about that time, and he simply got things mixed up." During the CNBC GOP debate on October 28, 2015, Carson was asked about his relationship with Mannatech. He replied, "That's easy to answer. I didn't have any involvement with Mannatech. Total propaganda. I did a couple speeches for them. I did speeches for other people—they were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say I had any kind of relation with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it is a good product." Politifact rated Carson’s denial of any involvement as "false", pointing to his paid speeches for Mannatech and his appearances in promotional videos in which he favorably reviewed its products, despite not being "an official spokesman or sales associate". When the CNBC moderator commented that Carson was on Mannatech’s website, Carson replied that he had not given his permission. Earlier, he had said that he was unaware of the company's legal history. On November 3, 2015, Mannatech said on its website that for compliance with Federal campaign finance regulations the company had removed all references to Carson before he announced his bid for the presidency.
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Earlier Friday, My Faith Votes announced Carson as its new national chairman, putting out a statement ahead of Carson's address to CPAC.
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Earlier this year, at a Lincoln birthday celebration at the White House, we honored two Lincoln Medal recipients: Sandra Day O'Connor and Benjamin Carson.
- "Benjamin Carson, M.D., Awarded The Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal". Retrieved June 1, 2015.
Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, has been awarded a 2008 Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal. The award was presented by President and Mrs. Bush to Carson and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on February 10, 2008, at a White House ceremony.
- "America's Best Leaders". usnews.com.
- "Carson, Hopkins Colleagues Named to Institute of Medicine". hopkinschildrens.org. October 11, 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
- "2012 Influential Marylanders". Maryland Daily Record.
- Jones, Jeffrey M. (December 29, 2014). "Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Extend Run as Most Admired". Gallup. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
- Ekman, Jennifer Z. (April 15, 2008). "Dr. Benjamin Carson To Offer His Inspiring Story Of Hope And Determination To USA Graduates At Commencement May 3". Office of Public Relations. University of South Alabama. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
- Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009) at the Internet Movie Database
- Carson, Candy (January 5, 2016). A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson. ISBN 978-1-59523-124-6. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
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