During last night’s GOP presidential debate, Ben Carson flatly denied having any relationship with a nutritional supplement company, Mannatech, that has been accused of deceptive marketing and come under fire for promoting quack treatments for cancer and autism, dismissing the charges as “total propaganda.”
“It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them,” he said.
Carson has since told reporters that future debates should not include “gotcha questions” like the one about his involvement with Mannatech, stating: “There’s no truth to them. I know people know how to investigate. They can easily go back and find out I don’t have any formal relations with Mannatech. They can easily find out that any videos I did with them were not paid for, were things I truly believed. That would be easy to do. If they had another agenda, they could investigate and say — see, there’s nothing there! But if they have a gotcha agenda, they conveniently ignore all the facts and try to influence public opinion.”
Reporters did just that, and found clear evidence of Carson’s relationship with Mannatech. He delivered “four paid speeches at Mannatech gatherings” where he showered praises on the company’s products and filmed a promotional video for the company, which is odd since Carson insisted during the debate that Mannatech had only had used his image “without my permission”:
Carson’s campaign, as PolitiFact points out, would prefer it if people did not find out about these ties: “Carson’s campaign requested that Mannatech remove some videos and articles featuring Carson from its website. And since media outlets have started poking around this question, Mannatech has taken down even more, according to reporters at the Wall Street Journal.”
Even the conservative National Review, which has reported about Carson’s promotion of Mannatech products on PBS, has called out Carson’s remarks what they are: lies. Jim Geraghty writes:
His declarations that “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and “absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them” are just bald-faced lies.
Mannatech wanted to improve its image and happily paid Carson, one of the country’s greatest neurosurgeons, the man Cuba Gooding Jr. played in the HBO movie – to appear at their events and to appear in the company videos. They put his face all over their web site (sometime between my story and now, those images were taken down). Carson’s lack of due diligence before working with the company is forgivable. His blatant lying about it now is much harder to forgive.