HUD nominee Dr. Ben Carson refuses to promise that HUD money won’t go to Trump empire
Warren replied: “The problem is that you can’t assure us that HUD money, not of $10 varieties, but multimillion dollar varieties, will not end up in the president-elect’s pockets, and the reason you can’t assure us of that is because the president-elect is hiding his family’s business interests from you, from me, from the rest of America.”
HUD is clearly at the crossroads of the Trump industry and the president-elect’s conflict with government. Carson, the former GOP presidential candidate, has no experience in housing, but as a strong supporter of Donald Trump, he has the valuable ear of the White House. Conflicts are obviously possible, and Carson gave no assurance that he would place a firewall between Trump the real estate developer and Trump the president of the United States.
Carson did immediately address his lack of experience in housing policy, the primary complaint against him from opposition groups. He noted his experience on various corporate boards, which included selecting chief executive officers.
“A good CEO doesn’t necessarily know everything about the business, but he knows how to pick people and how to use them, and that is one of the marks of good leadership,” Carson said in his remarks to the panel.
Carson focused much of his opening remarks on race relations and health, using his expertise in both to highlight their importance in housing. Previous HUD secretaries have woven race into housing, emphasizing how fair lending practices and government aid to struggling communities are necessary to bridging the divide between the haves and the have-nots.
” I see HUD as part of the solution, helping ensure housing security and strong communities,” he said in the statement. “HUD has several different ways it helps people, through insuring financing for that first home to helping those in poverty, which has been an intractable problem for decades.”
Carson’s emphasis on health issues in housing clearly draws on his professional experience and marks something of a new take on housing in low-income neighborhoods. He cited mold, lead paint, pest infestation and poor ventilation as dangers that are particularly prevalent in poorer neighborhoods and housing projects.
“I am passionate about health as you may have guessed, and where one lives should not cause health problems. So I look forward to working with HUD’s Safe and Healthy Homes program and others on these issues. We cannot have social mobility without a strong healthy foundation in the home,” he said.