posted at 1:21 pm on January 12, 2017 by John Sexton
Sen. Elizabeth Warren questioned Dr. Ben Carson at his confirmation hearing for the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Thursday. Warren wanted Carson to assure her that not $1 of HUD money would wind up benefiting any company owned by Donald Trump. Carson, in a genial but firm way, refused to play along.
Warren opened her questioning saying, “If you are confirmed to lead HUD, you’ll be responsible for issuing billions of dollars in grants and loans to help develop housing.” “Housing development is an area in which President-elect Trump and his family have significant business interest,” she continued. “Can you assure me that not a single taxpayer dollar that you give out will financially benefit the President-elect or his family?”
“I can assure you that the things that I do are driven by a sense of morals and values and therefore I will absolutely not play favorites for anyone,” Carson replied.
“Dr. Carson…I’m actually trying to ask a more pointed question and it’s not about your good faith,” Warren said. “My concern is whether or not, among the billions of dollars that you will be responsible for handing out in grants and loans, can you just assure us that not one dollar will go to benefit either the President-elect or his family?” she asked. Note that this is the same question she asked the first time around.
“It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any…any American,” Carson replied. “It’s for all Americans, everything that we do,” he clarified.
Warren then shifted her argument saying, “Do I take that to mean that you may manage programs that will significantly benefit the President-elect? Notice we’ve now gone from “a single taxpayer dollar” to programs that will “significantly benefit” Trump.
“You can take it to mean that I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people,” Carson replied. He continued, “If there happens to be an extraordinarily good program that is working for millions of people and it turns out that someone that you’re targeting is going to gain, you know, ten dollars from it, am I going to say, ‘No, the rest of you Americans can’t have it’?” “I think logic and common sense would probably be the best way,” Carson concluded.
Warren then went into a minute and a half long statement about the need for Trump to have a blind trust. That was clearly her point all along and, unfortunately for her, Dr. Carson refused to play along in the set up for her statement. Here’s video of the exchange: