back to top
Politics

Old Interview Shows How Carson Has Shifted Story About His Temper

Carson told CNN on Thursday, "unless you were the victim of that temper, why would you know? Just because you happened to know me? That doesn't make any sense." In an old interview, he said his temper was known "far and wide."

Posted on

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has pushed back on a CNN report that his childhood friends and classmates do not remember him being particularly violent in his youth by saying that most examples of his temper were "private incidents."

"‎Why would anybody know about, you know, private incidents like that? You know, I was generally a nice person, it's just that I had a very bad temper," Carson told CNN on Thursday. "So unless you were the victim of that temper, why would you know? Just because you happened to know me? That doesn't make any sense."

In a 1987 profile of the then-practicing pediatric neurosurgeon, however, Carson said his temper was widely-known.

I was "known far and wide for my terrible temper," Carson said in the profile.

In his books and other interviews, Carson characterized his temper as "all-consuming" and described public outbursts of anger.

Carson wrote in his book Think Big, "One other factor played an important role in my development. I had always had a terrible temper, striking out at anyone who opposed me."

In Take The Risk, another Carson book, he wrote that his temper was "all-consuming" and made him a threat to those around him.

"My biggest stumbling block during the early years of my adolescence was anger," wrote Carson. "I struggled with an often intense and sometimes unmanageable temper. It erupted out of nowhere and became so all-consuming that it posed a threat not only to me, but to those around me."

Speaking with ABC News in 2002, Carson said his temper extended to school, where he attacked his fellow classmates.

"I mean, I had a hair-trigger temper. I mean, I would go after people with baseball bats. You know, I once hit a kid in the school who was trying to close my locker. I still had my lock in my hand, put a three inch gash in his forehead. Things like that. But, you know, he, he of course, fled in terror. I was more terrified than he is."

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.