During his confirmation hearing with the Senate as Donald Trump’s pick to head the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, brain surgeon Ben Carson seemed to be thrown off by a line of questioning from Senator Elizabeth Warren.
After Carson had already spent most of the hearing dancing around questions and not giving any real, substantive answers about any policy specifics, it was Warren’s turn to question him. And she did not disappoint.
One report between Carson and Warren said:
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a reliable critic of financial impropriety, began her time questioning Carson with a simple question: “Can you assure me that not a single taxpayer dollar that you give out will benefit the president-elect and his family?”
As any New York real estate developer worth his or her salt would know, HUD’s investments—particularly its urban renewal programs—have been corruptly turned to private gain in the past, particularly during the mid-20th century, when Robert Moses dominated urban planning in the city.
“I can assure you that the things that I do are driven by a sense of moral values,” Carson began. But Warren cut him off, noting the breadth of the department’s financial reach.
“My concern is whether, among the billions of dollars that you will be responsible for handing out, can you just assure us not one dollar will go to the benefit of the president-elect or his family?” Warren asked.
Answering the question with a thought experiment about $10 going to the Trump family, Carson ultimately concluded that he “will manage things to the benefit of the American people.”
Warren said: “The problem is that you can’t assure us that HUD money, not of $10 varieties, but of multimillion-dollar varieties, won’t end up in the president-elect’s pockets. And the reason you can’t do that is that the president-elect is hiding his business interests from you, from me and the rest of America. The president-elect knows, and his family knows, what will benefit him, but the American people don’t.”
Elizabeth Warren is referring to the fact that, Trump has not released his tax returns, so there is no way for Americans to know what companies Trump owns may benefit from HUD dollars, particularly those hidden deep inside Trump’s corporations.
For those keeping score at home, that’s Warren 1, Carson 0, Trump 0