GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s long-time business manager and friend told Breitbart News that Erick Erickson lied about his reasoning for not inviting Carson to the RedState event in Atlanta over the weekend.
RedState is a wholly owned subsidiary of Salem Communications, although overseen by Erickson—who is a Fox News Contributor. Salem Communications radio host Hugh Hewitt will be co-hosting the next GOP primary debate in California at the Reagan Library.
Erickson told the Washington Examiner he did not invite Carson because he allegedly saw Carson speak at a veteran’s event where Erickson is saying Carson only talked about himself and President Obama.
“I was at two different events for military non-profits in the last year,” Erickson stated. “They were non-profits that had asked Dr. Carson to speak about military veterans and the work he did with the disabled and both times he spent the entire time talking about himself and his battle with the president and it just struck me wrong. And when we were putting together a list of RedState speakers we had a limited selection and I chose not to put Dr. Carson on the list unless the other spots didn’t fill up. The other spots filled up so I didn’t ask him. I was impressed with his debate performance the other night and his closing statement but I just, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Here’s someone that’s supposed to speak on disabled veterans, [speaking] on himself so that’s why I didn’t do it.”
A long time confidant of Carson charged that Erickson is not telling the truth.
Contacted in London, where he has traveled on business, Armstrong Williams, Dr. Carson’s longtime business manager and confidant said, “This is an outrage. When I heard what Erick Erickson said about his justification for not inviting Dr. Carson, I immediately thought it was a smear and outright lie. I dare Erick Erickson to show transcripts where Dr. Ben Carson appears in front of two groups of veterans and speaks solely about himself and President Obama. On the occasions when Dr. Carson uses stories from his personal narrative, it is to illustrate how one can overcome difficult situations. Dr. Carson took time away from his busy campaign schedule in the state of Iowa to emphatically communicate his grave disappointment with Erickson and perplexed to understand his true hidden agenda. Dr. Carson holds our troops and veterans in the highest esteem, and would never give a speech to a group of them without specifically addressing their concerns.”
“What’s more, you would think that the RedState audience would want to hear from someone like Dr. Carson because he has taken on President Obama directly while some of his opponents in the Republican primary have been on the sidelines for the past eight years,” Williams added. “I don’t know what Erickson’s motivations are–but there is something here far deeper than he didn’t like what he heard at two speeches.”
It appears Williams is correct about Erickson pushing his own agenda. In a previous interview, Erickson labeled himself an “activist” rather than a “reporter” and previously said on Carson, “I don’t see a rationale for his candidacy.”
“I’m certainly in the media. I guess you could say I’m a journalist, as long as you don’t make that a synonym with ‘reporter,’” Erickson stated. “Analyst, pundit, commentator – however you see that. At heart, I still feel like I’m an activist.”
Erickson did not respond to a request for comment when Breitbart News sent him Williams’ quote on Sunday evening.
In addition to Carson, Erickson did not invite former Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). Erickson also disinvited GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at the 11th hour, as Trump was about to appear at the event.