Today on The Lead with Jake Tapper, Ben Carson’s longtime adviser and business manager, Armstrong Williams, attempted to explain in detail the doctor’s interaction with Mannatech.
WILLIAMS: Nothing is ever what it appears to be. What is good about this is that I actually negotiated the contract as his business manager. Dr. Carson was asked to go to Arizona — and there’s an e-mail chain, and I may mess up some of the details — to be a part of Mannatech. They wanted to tape something for PBS. They were not sure it was going to be nationally distributed until Dr. Carson actually did the event in Arizona.
Now the script that they sent us, that Dr. Carson supposedly was going to read from, when he actually got to Arizona — I was not with him — he called, he said, ‘I’m not going to say this. I’m not comfortable with this. I don’t believe in this.’ And it created such disarray that — I think the guy’s’ name was Mr. Taylor – he called me, I said, look, he’s not going to read the script. He thinks he’s being taken advantage of. He doesn’t want to disappoint the thousands of people that are in the audience. He’s going to say what he wants to say. And I’ve got to tell you, once he leaves Phoenix, this relationship is over.
Because part of the deal was, when we were negotiating, if it went well, and if PBS decided to distribute this, they would go back in March and tape part two. It was like, part one, part two, part three. So Dr. Carson was never involved in the details. It’s something that myself and his executive secretary, R.G. Jones, were involved in. And once Dr. Carson realized the details, not us, he said I’m not comfortable with this, I can’t do it.
TAPPER: But that does seem to suggest there was some relationship. It’s over now, but there was some relationship.
WILLIAMS: Obviously, then the Washington Speakers Bureau booked you, Jake, to go and give a speech, sometimes you may not know all the details. There are some things that are negotiated that you’re not aware of. Like the script. The script that we received was quite different from what was given to Dr. Carson. And he just said, ‘I don’t believe this. I’m not going to do it.’ That was showing his integrity And when that was over, he made it clear to me, ‘you need to to get me out of this. I’m not going to do this again. And it was over.’
It’s good that Dr. Carson realized that he may not have wanted his good name associated with the company, or recognized that the company wanted him to say things about their products that he simply couldn’t do in good conscience. But it’s just about impossible to square the account from Williams with Carson’s claim from last night that he had no involvement with the company and that he had no relationship with them:
Well, that’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda, and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them, I do speeches for other people. They were paid speeches. It is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of a relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.