DES MOINES, Iowa — Ben Carson said his top outside adviser and longtime friend Armstrong Williams is dishonest – a failing he also attributed to political opponents and the media that has covered his campaign.
“Armstrong is not necessarily the epitome of truth,” Mr. Carson said during a breakfast with reporters hosted by Bloomberg. “He doesn’t speak all things that are correct. He often speaks without thinking. He has no official capacity in the campaign whatsoever. His influence has been vastly overrated.”
Of negative news coverage, he said, “That level of dishonesty in the press should be something that concerns all of you guys.”
Mr. Carson, who led public opinion polls in early November before his campaign sank amid internal dysfunction and questions about the accuracy of his vaunted biography and his command of foreign policy, said the turmoil in his political team doesn’t disqualify him from running the federal government.
“I’ve discovered what the problems are and I’ve corrected them,” Mr. Carson said. “The problem is when you leave dysfunction in place.”
Mr. Williams, who for more than a year has arranged Mr. Carson’s media interviews and some of his public appearances, said his role in the campaign has been “vastly overstated in the media.”
“While I may have misspoken on rare occasions — as anyone who is human is prone to err — my loyalty to Dr. Carson and his candidacy is clear and unwavering,” Mr. Williams said.
Mr. Carson said his campaign’s fall from the Republican field’s top ranks hasn’t bothered him. He compared the ups and downs of the campaign to his life story of rising from poverty in Detroit to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon.
“Recognize that I have experienced every socioeconomic level there is from, the bottom to the top. I feel very comfortable at every level,” he said. “The trappings of wealth and power mean nothing to me.”