Republican front-runner Ben Carson (god, that feels weird to type) is in hot water over allegations that he never actually tried to stab someone, despite his claims to the contrary in his best-selling memoir.
Carson’s 1990 autobiography Gifted Hands is a redemption narrative, in which the nadir of the brain surgeon’s troubled adolescence comes when he tries to stab a classmate to death in ninth grade. In Carson’s telling, he thrust the knife toward the boy’s belly with such force that, when, by the grace of God, he accidentally struck his boy’s belt buckle instead, the blade broke off its handle.
As Carson’s star has risen over the past few weeks, multiple news outlets have questioned the veracity of this tale. Then, last night, CNN reported that interviews with Carson’s childhood friends and acquaintances painted a radically different picture of the young candidate than the violent miscreant depicted in Gifted Hands.
Carson went on Fox News’s The Kelly File last night to respond, telling Megyn Kelly that the idea that he could have misrepresented his past was absurd and insulting, and that the person he tried to stab was a close relative who did not wish to come forward. In his memoir, the person he stabbed was identified as a friend, not a relative.
“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?” Carson said.
While there is some reason to doubt Carson’s honesty, disguising the identity of actual people in a memoir through minor fictionalization — like calling a cousin a friend – isn’t exactly unheard-of in the genre.
Still, less than a half hour after CNN published its expose, Donald Trump began sounding off on Twitter about his rival:
Just 367 more days to go.