Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has spoken out on the campaign trail about his rough childhood and his formerly-violent temper, but there’s one person who doesn’t buy it, and that person is Donald Trump. On Twitter Thursday Trump questioned Carson’s claim that he stabbed his friend with a camping knife as a teen, saying that it could be a “total fabrication,” or, if true, not at the inspiring Carson turning-point story that Carson claims it is. Carson has told the stabbing story many times throughout his career (in a number of his books, as well as in interviews and speeches). He describes his young, angry self pulling a knife on a friend after a disagreement. He tries to stab his friend in the stomach, but hits his metal belt buckle instead, breaking the knife, and scaring himself straight. The incident was purportedly the catalyst that led Carson to his faith and put him on the path to Yale, an accomplished career as a renowned neurosurgeon, and, eventually, a presidential candidate.
While it might not be surprising that Donald Trump is calling Carson out (who doesn’t Donald Trump call out these days?), it looks like he’s actually not the only one questioning the validity of the story.
In an article for the Daily Beast, writer Gideon Resnick examined what has been said about Carson’s teen years and found that there were differences in the Ben Carson stabbing stories over the years. So did he pull a pocketknife on a friend after a disagreement about music on the radio? Or was it a camping knife on a random bully? CNN tried to verify his claims and found that none of Carson’s former classmates remembered him being an angry kid like he claimed. But Carson hit back at his critics, explaining that he intentionally changed details about identities of the other people involved, and that the story of the stabbing incident specifically had been retold so many times by different people that it was inevitable that details would be changed:
"The explanation is that it occurred over 50 years ago. Have you ever played that party game where you whisper into the person's ear, and then they tell it, and by the time it gets around, it's a different story? That's what we're talking about."
Regardless of the details of the story, it is kind of unusual to see presidential hopefuls debating about whether or not one of them actually tried to stab someone as a child — with the candidate in question trying to argue that yes, he really did do it. But then again, as with all political campaigns, the 2016 presidential election has been full of questionable remarks and head-scratching moments from pretty much everyone involved. Here are four other comments from GOP candidates that made us ask, “did they really just say that?”:
1. When Donald Trump Said That Mexico Is Sending Rapists Over The Border
Oh, Donald Trump, you are by far the candidate with the most outrageous sound bites and social media updates. Although Trump has said many things that could be included in this list (like his comment on Carly Fiorina’s face, or suggesting the Megyn Kelly was angry because she was “bleeding,” ahem), Trump’s comments on immigrants have been pretty shocking (not to mention incredibly offensive).
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
I just cannot even.
2. When Ted Cruz Said Obama Was Afraid Of “Real Journalists” Like Rush Limbaugh
After President Obama criticized Republicans’ complaints about CNBC debate moderators, Ted Cruz hit back, wondering why it is that Republican candidates are expected to be interviewed by “lefty journalists” on a regular basis, while Obama is able to steer clear of conservative, right-wing journalists. Although many GOP supporters probably would have agreed with him on that, the validity of his comment quickly got overshadowed by his claim that Obama was just intimidated by “real journalists” like Limbaugh and Glenn Beck:
“I have liberal journalists take shots at me all day long. Have you ever seen Barack Obama sit down and be interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, or Glenn Beck, or Mark Levin? Barack Obama is terrified of questions from real journalists who actually would press him. He likes to be surrounded by his fawning accolades.”
Also, that's the wrong use of "accolades."
3. When Jeb Bush Called Supergirl Hot
Although I’m pretty sure Jeb Bush was just trying to be funny, this one just felt kind of icky. During a campaign stop in Nevada in October, Bush was asked who his favorite superhero was.
So, yep. That happened.
4. When Carly Fiorina Said The Wind Turbines Are Giant, Ugly, Bird Slaughterers
Carly Fiorina has been open about her view that climate change is not as important an issue as many people claim it to be, and during an interview with Katie Couric, she spoke about alternative energy, and claimed that wind turbines “[slaughter] millions of birds.”
Except that’s not entirely true, according to a Vox analysis of the Fiorina interview:
“[a] recent peer-reviewed survey of bird mortality studies found that wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds a year, compared with 6.8 million that die from colliding with cell and radio towers and between 1.4 and 3.7 billion killed by cats. Wind turbines kill a relatively tiny number of birds.”
Not to mention that, “according to the Audubon Society, hundreds of species of birds, including bald eagles, will be put at "serious risk" by climate change.”
While we may not ever know for sure exactly what is true about Carson’s stabbing story, there is one thing we can count on — with just over a year left on this campaign, there will almost certainly be more questionable comments from these candidates. So much to look forward to.
Images: Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Giphy (4)