Trump's housing secretary should be fired for not doing his job, says top Democrat

Elizabeth Warren blasted Ben Carson for failing to enforce anti-discrimination laws

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Friday 23 March 2018 22:07 GMT
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US Senator Elizabeth Warren tells Ben Carson he should be fired

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Elizabeth Warren told Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson his failure to enforce anti-discrimination laws “should get you fired”.

After castigating Mr Carson over the recently revealed purchase of a $31,000 (£22,000) furniture set for his office, the Senator accused him of a larger abrogation of his duty in falling short on policing housing discrimination.

“Don’t get me wrong. I think scamming the taxpayers is a scandal”, said Ms Warren. “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 this country”.

The Massachusetts Democrat challenged Mr Carson to cite specific steps he had taken to combat discrimination, in response to which he cited lawsuits brought by the department, and denounced his move to delay a rule that would require communities to investigate obstacles to minorities when they ask for federal grants.

“It is HUD’s job to help end housing discrimination”, Ms Warren said, using an acronym for the agency. “That’s what the law said. You said you would enforce these laws. You haven’t, and I think that’s the scandal that should get you fired”.

Mr Carson pushed back on that characterisation, calling Ms Warren’s remarks inaccurate.

Throughout multiple days of often-contentious congressional hearings, Mr Carson faced sharp questions from Democrats about his use of taxpayer funds on the furniture.

During a hearing before a House committee Mr Carson responded that he had been told an existing, decades-old furniture set was hazardous and left the decision to his wife.

After learning of the cost, Mr Carson said, he moved to cancel the purchase.

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That explanation did not satisfy some legislators, with North Carolina Democrat David Price saying Mr Carson was contradicting an aide’s statement to the media that he had no involvement in the transaction.

Assailing “several major ethical lapses” at HUD, Mr Price said “what's even more disturbing are apparently false public statements that attempted to obscure the truth about the Secretary's involvement”.

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