Former presidential candidate and now the president-elect’s pick to head the Housing and Urban Development Department Ben Carson is being grilled on Thursday on Capitol Hill. In the grilling, Carson faced liberal pit bull Elizabeth Warren and her line of questioning.
She asked a simple but important question. She asked if he would promise that taxpayer dollars would not be used to benefit President-elect Trump.
‘I just want to get an answer to a simple yes or no question. If you are confirmed to lead HUD, you will be responsible for issuing billions of dollars in grants and loans to help develop housing and provide a lot of housing-related services. Now, housing development is an area in which President-elect Trump and his family have significant business interests. Can you assure me that not a single taxpayer dollar that you give out will financially benefit the president-elect or his family?
Good question, and a question that any one should expect from the fiery Warren.
Carson tried to play upon the image that he is a man of morals and values saying, “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.”
Warren would not take that at face value. She responded to his statement asking:
‘It’s not about your good faith. My concern is whether or not, among the billions of dollars you will be responsible for handing out in grants and loans, can you just assure us that not $1 will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family?’
Again, on point from the persistent Warren. To his credit, Carson provided a decent answer to her question responding:
‘It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any American. It’s for all Americans everything that we do.’
He again tried to sidestep mentioning Trump specifically and seemed to attempt to leave a backdoor for himself in case President-elect Trump does benefit.
‘If there happens to be an extraordinary program that’s working for millions of people, and it turns out that someone that you’re targeting is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say, “No, the rest of you Americans can’t have it”? I think logic and common sense probably would be the best way.’
Warren emphasized that Carson’s answer was not ensuring the American people that taxpayer dollars wouldn’t go to benefit Trump and his business interests. That’s when she circled and flew in for the kill, bringing up President-elect Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.
‘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. And this just highlights the absurdity and the danger of the president-elect’s refusal to put his assets into a true blind trust. He knows, he, the president-elect knows, what will benefit him and his family financially. But the public doesn’t, which means he can divert taxpayer money into his own pockets without anyone knowing about it.’
‘The only way the American people can know the president is working in their best interests, and not in his own is if he divests and puts his assets in a true blind trust. Transferring his holdings to his children does nothing, as the head of Nonpartisan Ethics Committee said just last night.’
She used that moment to tell the committee the importance of passing the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act to require Trump to divest.
She followed up by pointing out how important HUD is, calling it the difference between a “stable home and life on the streets.” She brought up the problem of lead exposure and that 62,000 public housing units are in need of lead abatement. She complimented Dr. Carson, calling the retired neurosurgeon “highly accomplished.” She then asked if he could commit that he would make sure HUD resources were dedicated to fixing the issue of lead.
Carson agreed and did commit saying, “Yes, I will be very vigorous in that area.”
You can watch the exchange below.
Featured image via screenshot from YouTube.