Ben Carson plays the Christian card over the Popeye story

It looks like the Carson camp has got fed up with being asked for verification of his Popeye story and is now taking the tack of refusing to answer any more questions on the topic and expressing indignation that anyone would even ask for corroborating evidence and thus questioning the truth of the story

The Ben Carson campaign said Friday it will refuse to answer any more questions about an incident where the presidential candidate said he was held at gunpoint at a Popeyes restaurant and called any suggestions he’s not telling the truth about what happened “outrageous.”

“The incident at Popeyes occurred over 30 years ago. Suggestions that Dr. Carson is lying are outrageous. We will not entertain any further discussion on this issue,” Carson’s Deputy Communications Director Ying Ma told CNN in an email.

However, before completely shutting down the line of questioning, he and his campaign did add some new information. Carson said that while he did not file a police report, he believes that someone else did.

Armstrong Williams, the campaign’s business manager, said it occurred at the Popeyes on the corner of Broadway and Orleans Street in Baltimore between 1980 and 1983 when Carson was a resident at nearby Johns Hopkins hospital.

Williams said Dr. Carson had gone to the restaurant to get French fries.

Williams told CNN on Friday that Carson recalled people in the neighborhood chasing the robber down the street.

Baltimore police Tweeted on Thursday that Carson’s description of the incident provided insufficient information to locate a police report.

Lt. Jarron Jackson, a police spokesman, said Friday that the department would launch a new inquiry using the details provided by Williams. The request was made by CNN.

A spokesperson for Popeyes was not immediately aware of any records of such an incident during that time period.

Carson has also played the god card saying, “I can tell you categorically as a God-fearing Christian, it’s something that happened. It’s not something I made up.”

We have to take him at his word because we all know that Christians never lie or kill or commit adultery because prohibitions against them are in the Ten Commandments.

It is not that he is being accused of lying but he has to realize that when he recounts such a sensational story, he is obliged to back it up. This was not some idle dinner party chat. He told the story to a mass media outlet to burnish his credentials as a candidate for the presidency. Surely it should be easy to get corroboration from his family, friends, and colleagues that he told them this story at that time. Why have they not come forward yet? What about his wife? He married her in 1975 and he must have told her.

Maybe they soon will come forward or maybe there will be a police report of the event or maybe Popeye’s will find the incident in its files and the matter will be brought to rest.

But until then, Carson had better be prepared to be questioned repeatedly.


  1. Jockaira says

    If Carson said it happened, then it happened. At least in his head, along with a lot of other silly notions.

    The conflation of reality with many other things (TV shows, Movies, Tales told by friends, etc) is a known phenomenon in the assembly of a personal historical narration. It’s only human, but Carson had to open his big mouth, probably to salvage a previous conflation, amd brought the fury of the fact checkers upon hisself.

    There’s an old saying: “Look before you leap amd think before you speak.”

  2. kyoseki says

    Between this and Fiorina’s abortion video, it’s beginning to look like the Republican candidates are suffering from a bad case of Brian Williams syndrome.

  3. Vicki says

    So, what we have here is a man indignantly insisting, despite lack of any supporting evidence, that someone pulled a gun on him, and he bravely told the attacker to point the gun at a cashier?!

    I keep thinking I must be missing something, because the story doesn’t make him look either brave or effective. Is there a large “guns are no big deal, because if you tell a criminal to point his gun at someone else he will” voting bloc?

  4. atheistblog says

    I agree that kind of incident would have been redolent of unforgettable past, it is not right to demand that he should have been remembered in your way of remembering things. We are talking about subjective memories and how human brain ruminate some memories, I know you are trying to be funny and ridicule him, but rationality should kick in once in a while. So, Mano Singham, just stop it, make the point that it is not believable and move on. And stop putting your toe in your mouth in the process of mocking him.

  5. Al Dente says

    atheistblog @4

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask Carson for evidence to support an unusual story. The point that neither Popeyes nor the Baltimore police have any record of the occurrence makes it suspicious. Sure, all of us tell ourselves fictitious stories, it’s called daydreaming. But when a presidential candidate daydreams in public, then he should be repeatedly asked to either corroborate the story or admit he made it up.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    Williams said Dr. Carson had gone to the restaurant to get French fries.

    Hmmm. Carson is a Seventh-Day Adventist; their diet is mostly vegetarian. Maybe he doesn’t want this probed into because he went to Popeye’s for more than just french fries!

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    It seems this is not the strangest lie told by Carson.
    Carson Caught in a Ridiculous Lie

    First, on the Oct. 5, 2015, edition of the Fox News show Hannity, Carson said Putin’s “relationships go way, way, way, way back, you know? 1968 at Patrice Lumumba University — that’s when Putin first got to know the Ali Khamenei, and also Mahmoud Abbas.”

  8. Chiroptera says

    Reginald Selkirk, #6: Carson is a Seventh-Day Adventist; their diet is mostly vegetarian.

    In the Seventh Day Adventist Church, vegetarianism is recommended but not a requirement.

    They are expected to keep kosher, though. No shellfish or pork at all. They are also supposed to abstain from alcohol.

    Sorry of you knew that and I just ruined the joke.

  9. busterggi says

    “Williams said Dr. Carson had gone to the restaurant to get French fries.”

    No one goes to Popeyes just for fries.

  10. smrnda says

    I think Ben Carson should be aware of research in the unreliability of memory, enough so that before telling such an outrageous story he would have done some research, to check whether his memories could be trusted. If you’re putting together a resume or CV, you check what you remember against whatever records might exist, knowing that the bigger the claim, the greater the future demand for evidence. Carson’s remarks are his political CV.

    When it comes to narratives of personal heroism, anybody and everybody should expect that people will demand proof. Yes, we’re not all likely to have proof for everything we’ve done or witnessed but when we don’t it means that we should probably avoid relying on such stories to bolster our image. If a candidate for a job comes in with a number of impressive achievements at Company X (which I’ve never heard of) and supplies no references, dates of employment or contact information, I will be skeptical. Carson is a job applicant for a political position, and the same rules apply.

  11. GSR says

    Whether it’s when the media finds a right wing Christian in a sex scandal or the big bad Libbies attacking Palin, Christians love to play the victim card and how they’re persecuted like Jebus. Give me a break. Now Carson says he’s a devout Christian and we should trust him over his B.S. Popeyes story that no one can confirm and seems incredulous. Devout’ Christian, the last refuge of the scoundrel!

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