Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson struggled to answer basic questions at a House Financial Services Committee Tuesday.
At one point during the hearing, Carson confused the housing term real estate owned property (REO) with “Oreo” cookies.
“Do you know what an REO is?” asked California Rep. Katie Porter.
“An Oreo?” Carson asked.
“No, not an Oreo. An R-E-O. REO,” Porter explained.
“Real estate …” Carson began.
“What’s the O stand for?” she asked.
“Real estate … e-organization,” Carson said.
Carson tries to “reclaim” his time, fails:
During a contentious exchange with Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Carson complained about the congresswoman’s question about whether poor conditions in low-income housing cause risks for tenants.
“Yes or no, can you ask me some questions yourself and stop reading this silly stuff?" Carson said.
“You don’t get to dictate what my line of questioning is. Reclaiming my time,” Pressley said. “You’re a very smart man. You understand the question. Please answer it.”
Carson told the congresswoman “you already know the answer.”
“I know the answer,” Pressley said. “Do you know the answer?”
“Reclaiming my time,” Carson said.
“You don’t get to do that,” Pressley shot back.
“Oh,” Carson laughed, before being scolded by Chairwoman Maxine Waters.
Carson defends plan to evict undocumented immigrants’ US-born kids:
Carson also used his testimony to defend his agency’s plan to evict entire families if even just one member is undocumented and even if they have American-born children. The move could put 55,000 children who are legal residents or citizens at risk of eviction and homelessness, according to the agency’s own estimates.
“It seems only logical that taxpaying American citizens should be taken care of first,” Carson said. “It’s not that we’re cruel, mean-hearted. It’s that we are logical. This is common sense. You take care of your own first.”
Waters said that she is “troubled by Secretary Carson’s recent cruel proposal to terminate housing benefits for families with mixed immigration status.”
“Prorated rental assistance allows mixed-immigration status families to remain together while exclusively subsidizing only those family members with eligible status,” Waters said. “The Trump Administration’s proposal puts mixed-status families at risk of being evicted, separated, and left homeless.”