As Trump cabinet members go, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson has had it relatively easy until now.
Unlike some of his now-departed colleagues who were forced to resign over their flagrant corruption scandals, Carson easily survived his one publicized misstep — the purchase of a $31,000 dining set for his office — by blaming the expenditure on his wife.
As one of the few African Americans in the Trump administration, Carson is now in the awkward position of defending the president against the accusations of racism after Trump had a record week of sending out tweets that offended a majority of Americans of every race.
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Carson learned just how tough it is being a Trump apologist of color today in Baltimore just days after Trump posted a Twitter rant targeting one of the city’s most senior congressional representatives, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and describing the city as a “rat and rodent-infested mess.”
Carson was in the city to discuss opportunity zones and other federal programs that could help Baltimore revitalize most impoverished communities, presumably to cover for the president’s remarks by finally showing some initiative for remedial efforts to help clean up the city’s worst slums, including the housing developments owned by the family of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Unfortunately for Carson, whose level of respect within and outside of the administration rivals the late Rodney Dangerfield, his staff hadn’t received permission for holding his press conference on property belonging to a local church.
According to an account in The Washington Examiner, “Carson’s advance team and TV news crews had begun setting up for a news conference in West Baltimore on a grassy patch in front of a boarded-up rowhouse when Gregory Evans, 71, of the Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ, walked over the inform them they had to move because they did not get permission from the church to be there.”
“Why did someone come onto church property without permission?” Evans told reporters. “This community needs some support on all kinds of issues — on dilapidated housing and everything else. All of a sudden you’re going to show up on our property and not even ask permission to be here?”
Carson and his crew were forced to relocate from the church’s property to a public space a few yards away, but the Secretary was not pleased by the inconvenience. He interrupted his press conference on the area’s dilapidated living conditions to decry his treatment by the church,
“They say, ‘Get off my property.’ A church! … This is the level to which we have sunken as a society,” he complained.
Oh, the indignities of being a Trump cabinet member!
Perhaps Carson should direct his comments at his boss rather than the church since Trump is the more potent example of how far our society has fallen.
You can watch a clip of HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s Baltimore speech in the video excerpt below.
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Original reporting by Daniel Chaitin at The Washington Examiner.