South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham says he believes Ben Carson is telling the truth about his violent past and a scholarship offer he received to West Point.
When asked by host Hillary Chabot on the radio show Morning Meeting whether he thinks the media’s coverage of Carson has been unfair, Graham, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, said, “Yes. I think what happened with the West Point thing — I can see some recruiter saying, 'Hey, come to West Point, we’ll give you a full scholarship.' That makes perfect sense to me. This is a technical dispute, a semantic dispute.”
Graham continued, saying, “As to what he did in his past in terms of violence, I don’t think he would lie about it.”
Aspects of Carson's personal biography have come under scrutiny from several media outlets who have questioned his claims that he was violent as a child and that he was offered a scholarship to West Point.
“I think Dr. Carson has been vindicated on the West Point thing," Graham said. "I don’t believe that he’s lied about getting a scholarship offer to West Point. Why would he? He went to Yale!”
“About whether or not he he hit a guy with a lock, ya know, hit his mother, stabbed his cousin — I don’t know," Graham continued. "I believe that he is telling the truth. Why would you lie about that? That’s what I don’t get over.”
When Chabot pushed back, suggesting that all candidates face media scrutiny, Graham disagreed.
“I believe that eventually people are gonna understand that the media is trying to nitpick him to death, rather than challenge him as a candidate,” he said.
Graham clarified though, that he still doesn’t want Carson to win the Republican primaries, saying, “I don’t think he’s qualified to be president. I’m not arguing that Ben Carson should be president of the United States. I think his medicare plan is unfound, I think his foreign policy is ill conceived. I like him as a person.”
Nathan McDermott is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Nathan McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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