Top Carson aide: Media’s vetting is a ‘good thing’

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WASHINGTON — A close aide to Ben Carson said Monday that the scrutiny the Republican presidential candidate is facing was to be expected and is a “good thing.”

“Dr. Carson is being vetted and you know what, I know you’re going to be surprised to hear this, I think it’s a very good thing that Dr. Carson is being vetted, that Dr. Carson is being tested, that Dr. Carson is having to answer to these questions, because in my opinion, and the opinion of many others, it’s best that Dr. Carson address these issues early on and get them out of the way,” Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager and close adviser, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”

Williams’ remarks come as Carson has accused the media of being unfair and biased amid multiple reports questioning the validity of several parts of his biography.

Carson in the last week has faced the glare of scrutiny typically given to candidates running for the presidency as he has surged in the polls, loosening Donald Trump’s months-long standing as the Republican Party’s front-runner.

Williams said Carson “has to understand…that when you enter a presidential race and you don’t have a legislative record — the only record you have is your personal biography and your extraordinary record as a pediatric neurosurgeon — that people are going to comb through everything that you’ve said, everything that you’ve uttered and they will challenge it.”

Still, Williams said some of the questions Carson has faced have not been “fair,” pointing to a report in Politico that claimed Carson’s campaign admitted the retired neurosurgeon “fabricated” a claim about receiving a full scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Politico later changed the wording of that story.

Williams insisted that Carson was offered a full scholarship to the academy, though Carson has conceded that he never applied nor was he admitted to the prestigious military academy. Carson said top military brass had suggested to him that he could be admitted if he wished to attend.

A report from CNN last week also explored several incidents central to Carson’s inspirational autobiography, which recounted Carson’s transformation into the mild-mannered, revered neurosurgeon from a youth with a temper that sometimes flared into violence.

CNN interviewed nine friends, neighbors and classmates of Carson’s during the period of several of the violent outbursts that he described in his autobiography. All said they had no knowledge of the incidents, though noted they could not know what happens behind closed doors.

Carson and his campaign declined to identify any of the individuals involved in the incidents, including one in which Carson said he attempted to stab a close friend and family member, only to hit the young man’s belt buckle — a moment Carson said changed him forever.