On Tuesday, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson answered questions during a hearing with the House Committee on Financial Services. While Carson showed much of the pig-headed arrogance we have come to expect from any and all Trump administration officials, he also showed how profoundly ignorant and uniquely unqualified he is for the job he now has. Questioned by numerous Democratic representatives, Carson couldn’t answer, wouldn’t answer, and acted hurt when called on his lack of knowledge of the most basic aspects of his job. In an exchange that made the headlines, Rep. Katie Porter, the U.S. secretary of housing and urban development if he knew what an REO was. REO stands for “real estate owned,” a term commonly used to describe a property that has gone into foreclosure.
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) May 21, 2019
Carson clearly had no clue what an REO was, first wondering if Porter was asking him about the Oreo cookie, and then subsequently coming up with “real estate organization.” Carson was almost able to bullshit his way out of this, if only he had picked up the “an” in Rep. Porter’s question, “Do you know what an REO is?” Anyway, Carson tried to do what right-wing incompetents across the country have done for years now—he claimed that it was Porter who was confused and didn’t know what was happening. He also attempted to make the exchange simply about the acronym REO, and not about the issues underlying the question itself. As you can see from the video above, that’s not what happened at all.
Porter appeared on MSNBC Wednesday and answered Carson’s claims that his stumbling about was a matter of acronym overload, not general ignorance and incompetence at his position. As Porter has already shown since coming into office, she does not suffer fools lightly.
Porter: I’m sorry, but, respectfully, I was very clear in my words. I was using the term REO. And when he couldn’t hear me, or I thought he was mishearing me, I took pains to politely correct him—to spell out the acronym, R-E-O. I asked him to be sure we were on the same page so we could have a productive conversation, if he knew what an REO was, and he gave the incorrect answer. An REO is not an organization. It’s not a real estate organization. That’s not correct. So, for Mr. Carson to now go on TV today and say that I am the one who doesn’t know what’s going on and he’d be happy to inform me is, frankly, very rich. I spent more than 10 years in the trenches working with families who are facing foreclosure, listening to their stories, and I want Mr. Carson to take this problem very seriously. He still does not have his facts straight. In his statement today on Fox Business he claimed that FHA closes quickly, sells properties very quickly. It does not. The typical time for when FHA forecloses on a property to when that property has stopped being vacant [and] is returned to being a habitable home is over 500 days. So the reality is in the last 24 hours, while he may have learned what an REO is, he has not learned what’s going on in FHA and what he needs to do to lead it successfully.