Gage Skidmore / Flickr Ben Carson...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Senator Elizabeth Warren has never been afraid to call people out, whether they are heads of banks, Republican lawmakers or U.S. Cabinet Secretaries like HUD’s Ben Carson.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she wasn’t happy about HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s purchase of a $31K dining set. But she’s much more concerned about what she sees as Carson’s inaction on housing discrimination.

Warren: Can you name a few of the things you’ve done to reduce housing discrimination in your time at HUD?

Carson: First of all, we are constantly involved in lawsuits that we have brought against people.

Warren: Anything more? Because when I look at your track record at HUD I just see you headed in the wrong direction that is going backwards.

Mr. Secretary, a lot of people are criticizing you for spending tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on fancy furniture, and don’t get me wrong, I think scamming the taxpayers is a scandal. But the biggest scandal of your tenure is your unwillingness to do your job and enforce the laws that reduce housing discrimination and segregation across the country. 

In 1968, the typical black family had one-sixth the wealth as the typical white family. Now it is one-tenth. We have gone backwards since the Civil Rights era.

It is HUD’s job to help housing discrimination. That’s what the laws said. You said you would enforce these laws. Youn haven’t and I think that’s the scandal that should get you fired. 

Carson: Well, I don’t think you have fcharacterized things in any way close to being accurate. But you’re welcome to say whatever you want.

Warren: I really resent that remark. You won’t even look at the data that’s come into HUD.

That’s not ending housing discrimination 

Once again, an unqualified, corrupt Trump appointee fails to live up to his/her job. Thank you to Elizabeth Warren for further exposing this truth.

Another perfect example of Carson’s ineptness was when Rep Al Green shredded  him in this hearing below.

GREEN: Sir, you have indicated that there will be substantial cuts to the budget that HUD (Housing and Urban Development) has. Can you give me that dollar amount? I’m showing that it’s about $6 billion, is that correct?

CARSON: That’s about right.

GREEN: About 13 per cent of the budget?


GREEN: And would these cuts, Mr. Carson, come from public housing vouchers, community development block grants and other aid to low income persons?

CARSON: They come from a variety of sources, including —

GREEN: How much from public housing, Mr. Carson?

CARSON: Uh, probably in the neighborhood of, if you combine all the programs, uh, $2 billon to $3 billion.

GREEN: $2 billion to $3 billion? How much from housing vouchers, Mr. Carson?

CARSON: Uh, rather than go through a quiz on all the numbers, uh-

GREEN: It’s not a quiz, Mr. Carson. I have the time to ask you questions about things you should have some knowledge of. If you have no knowledge of them you can simply say so. I’ll accept it as an answer. This is something within your bailiwick my dear sir. How much from housing vouchers?

CARSON: Uh, again, I can give you that number…

GREEN: Well, if you can give it to me, I would greatly appreciate it, because I’m about to go on to community block grants.

CARSON: Well, here’s my point. I agree with you that it’s difficult to do these things.

GREEN: That is not — that has little to do with my question. You’re answering a question that I’m not asking to be quite candid with you. So will you kindly tell me how much HUD is going to — how much you’re going to cut from the HUD budget as it relates to housing vouchers? Now if you don’t know, it’s okay to say you don’t know, Mr. Carson. I don’t hold you to things you don’t know. How much are you…

CARSON: Let’s just move on and say I don’t want to offer that number because it’s…

GREEN: Why would the Secretary of HUD not give the number, the amount your cutting from housing vouchers, Mr. Carson? You’re the Secretary of HUD. You’re making the cut!

Carson: Because we already talked about the total amount of the cuts.

GREEN: Well, the total amount of the cuts does not help me when it comes to the housing vouchers. I have people who need to use housing vouchers and I need to be able to explain to them, Mr. Carson, how much the cuts portends for them. How much Mr. Carson?

Carson: I don’t want to open the book and look at the numbers.

GREEN: I see, so you don’t want to say how much you’re cutting from housing vouchers, or how much are you cutting from community block grants, Mr. Carson?

CARSON: I don’t want to talk about…

GREEN: Mr. Carson, you don’t get to talk about what you want to today. You get to talk about what I want you to talk about. You get to answer the questions I post, Mr. Carson.

CARSON: Yeah, but I also get to answer the question the way I want to.

GREEN: Well, you can answer them the way you want, but if you want to show a lack of knowledge, you can do this. It’s quite all right, Mr. Carson. So how much from community development block grants, Mr. Secretary?

CARSON: Again, I’m not willing to sit there and …

GREEN: So you don’t know how much from community developing block grants?

CARSON: I’m not going to go through the list, this much, this much and this much. I think that…

GREEN: I’ll move on, Mr. Carson. I’ll accept your lack of knowledge. Now, Mr. Carson, there seems to be a belief of among the ranks of those who have opportunities to help others, who have been blessed themselves. They seem to think that the rich need more, that the poor can do more with less, but the rich will have to have more to do more. Mr. Carson, if poor people could do more with less, there would be no poor people. Poor people are not poor because they choose to be. There is still, Mr. Carson, invidious discrimination in the United States of America. While you might not suffer it, there are others who do. And they need to know what you plan to do, and I regret that you’re unable to tell us today.

Thank you, House Representative Al Green.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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