WASHINGTON — Ben Carson on Thursday pushed back against a CNN investigation into his descriptions of his violent past, saying reporters shouldn’t expect childhood friends and acquaintances to corroborate his anecdotes.
“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 at a book signing in Florida. “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.”
Earlier in the day, Carson had said that his temper changed when he was 14 and tried to stab an acquaintance in a fit of rage but the blade was stopped by a belt buckle. He said CNN only interviewed people who had known him after that point.
But when Carson was told that CNN interviewed people for its report who knew him as early as elementary school, he said the temper was private.
He also called the investigations into his past “almost comical.”
“They are so desperate looking for a scandal it’s almost comical,” Carson said. “What they should be concentrated on is how are we going to solve the problems that we have. They can waste all of their time digging but they’re just not going to find anything.”
Carson did provide a timeline of when the violent outbursts occurred:
“One of the ones where I threw a rock and broke someone’s glasses, that occurred when I was maybe about 7 or 8. The stabbing, attempted stabbing incident occurred when I was 13 or 14, the — what’s another incident?” Carson said, asking the reporters. “Trying to hit my mother in the head with a hammer, that was around the same time as the stabbing incident.”
He also said he would not identify the individuals he has recounted lashing out at violently, but said he has no issue with them going public on their own.
“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?” Carson said. “If they come forward on their own because of your story, that’s fine. But I’m not going to expose them.”