Dem Who Voted to Confirm Ben Carson Slams Him For $31,000 Dining Set: ‘Not Sure I Made the Right Decision’
Sen. Sherrod Brown criticizes HUD Sec. Ben Cason for putting more resources into “a wobbly chair in a private DC dining room” than improving public housing conditions. https://t.co/yoqBSjhcfE pic.twitter.com/wvFR5vlrSP
— ABC News (@ABC) March 22, 2018
It’s just like the classic saying, “you give someone an inch, they take a mile.”
There’s only a slight difference in this case: a senator gave a Cabinet nominee a “yes” vote, then they allegedly went and bought a $31,000 table for their new office.
Sen. Sherrod Brown criticized Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to his face during a hearing on Thursday, over reports alleging he and his wife had personal involvement in the selection of an incredibly expensive table. He said the allegations against Carson were “extremely disturbing,” adding that he regrets being one of five Democrats on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to give him a “yes” vote on his nomination to the position, despite his total lack of experience.
“Under your leadership Secretary Carson, HUD has decided a wobbly chair in a private DC dining room requires the urgent attention of no fewer than 16 staffers and thousands, thousands of taxpayer dollars,” the senator said Thursday. “Unsafe and unsanitary conditions in public housing that puts working children and families at risk? Not our problem you say, let them use vouchers.”
The scathing rebuke arrived during Carson’s second hearing this week in which he was forced to defend his involvement in the $31,000 transaction. Carson has repeatedly claimed he was not aware of the purchase, and cancelled it after finding out. He also claimed reports of the lavish table were inaccurate on Thursday. “It’s not a table,” the secretary said. “It’s 17 pieces of furniture.”
Emails obtained by CNN paint a different picture however, indicating the secretary and his wife had apparently selected the furniture themselves.
“Instead of taking responsibility, Mr. Secretary, you seem to want to blame others,” Brown said. “Your wife picked out the furniture without knowing the price. Your spokesman said something, but not you. You shouldn’t be blamed for not listening to your ethics lawyers. The press is unfair. It goes on and on and on and on. Blaming others seems to be the order of the day in the swamp.”
For folks like Brown — who decided to give Carson a shot, even in the midst of a Democratic resistance to many of President Donald Trump’s most inexperienced nominees — the news is clearly upsetting.
“Mr. Secretary, as you remember, I voted to confirm you,” he continued. “I’m not sure I made the right decision.”
Watch a video of the tense exchange via ABC News above.
[image via screengrab]
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