WASHINGTON — Responding to a characterization that he was “shut out” of Ben Carson’s presidential campaign, a Houston fixture who has been a top Carson ally labeled the depiction a “back-stabbing lie.”
In a Bloomberg News report published Friday, a source in Carson's campaign said that Terry Giles — who had until recently worked with a super PAC backing the retired neurosurgeon, had been forced out of the campaign. A senior campaign staffer was quoted as saying that Giles "was shut out."
“That was news to me,” Giles, a prominent attorney, said in an email to The Texas Tribune, adding that he “was a bit caught off guard” by the article.
Giles told the Tribune that he left the super PAC in mid-October to tend to family and business priorities.
“This a typical politico gambit by the so-called ‘pros’ to try to elevate themselves by way of a back-stabbing lie,” Giles said of the sources' comments.
Giles, who was an early organizer of Carson’s presidential effort, left the campaign in May and joined the candidate's super PAC September after a required cooling-off period. By law, that super PAC cannot coordinate activities with the campaign.
Giles said that he left the super PAC position on Oct. 17 to “attend to family (who had been badly ignored for far too long) and my business interests.”
In late October, Giles said, he traveled to Florida “at Dr. Carson’s request” to help him with debate preparations. Giles added that he informed Carson he had needed a break.
“For the last 15 months I have done all I could do for Dr. Carson,” Giles said. “I am not a politico or a politician, and this is not my career," he added.
"I am a citizen who cares about America, sacrificed 15 months of my life to this cause (I refused any payments for my time), and now I need to get back to my civilian life for a while until I begin my work for Ben again next year.”
A campaign spokesman responded with regret over the matter.
“I woke up to the same story that Terry apparently did, and I’m not happy that somebody has taken to make those expressions anonymously,” Carson campaign communications director Doug Watts told the Tribune.
Watts, who said he had not spoken to Giles since Giles left the campaign in May, added that “shut out was a word I would not use.”
“I know Dr. Carson has the highest regard for him, as do I,” Watts added.
Watts said the organization would consider investigating the source of the comments.
“I’m sure we’ll look around,” he said. “But I know the hearts and minds of many of the people in the campaign, and I know Terry is someone everyone cares about.”
While Giles had nothing negative to say about Carson, he had harsh words for whoever made the comment.
“Bottom line — the report from the ‘unnamed source’ sounds like it is either in error or someone in the campaign is now looking to take more credit than they deserve or have earned,” Giles told the Tribune.
Later Friday, Giles followed up with a conciliatory sentiment.
"Since this is an unnamed source, it is possible this is just one goofball," he said. "I do not want to indict the entire campaign because I believe there are many great people involved over there and they have been overall doing a great job."
Giles set out to run a different campaign for Carson. In a January interview with the Texas Tribune, he went so far as to say he intended to create a position called the “director of campaign culture” to instill “integrity” into the campaign.
But earlier in the day, he raised questions about some in the campaign.
“Is there anything more cowardly than an ‘unnamed source’?” he asked.
Giles added that he still plans to work for the Carson campaign again.
“Ben reminded me [at the Florida meeting] that he wanted me to put together a team of experts that will follow him to Washington, D.C., when he is elected,” he said. “I committed to and intend to approach that job in earnest next year.”
Before his entrance into national politics this cycle, Giles was a lawyer involved in the Anna Nicole Smith inheritance dispute and was a trustee of the assets of the late Enron CEO Kenneth Lay.
He has longtime ties to Carson, whom he met through an organization called the Horatio Alger Society in 1994.