Aside from ordering very expensive chairs, what has Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Ben Carson been up to?
Not much, it appears, as he still finds the job to be 'more complex than brain surgery' a year after he was appointed.
I can't speak to that, but I think we can say with some confidence that Carson is not and never was qualified for his current position; a position he apparently won't even defend.
Carson has privately approved of the deep budget cuts the Trump White House has called for because, in his own words, we must redirect government funding to fight the Soviet Union.
When the White House budget director, Mick Mulvaney, proposed an 18 percent cut to HUD late last year, Mr. Carson reluctantly reached out to the president. Mr. Trump expressed sympathy. Then he told him to “talk to Mick” about the details.
Mr. Carson denies that he has been marginalized and says he backs Mr. Trump’s guns-before-butter budget approach. “I believe in what the president believes,” Mr. Carson said. “We are in a very precarious situation with North Korea, with radical terrorists who want to destroy us, with the Soviet Union, who has ambitions.” An aide later said he was referring to Russia.
Call this a slip of the tongue if you're feeling generous, but in any case the military's budget already dwarfs HUD's budget by a margin of about 15 to 1. To say he "believes what [Trump] believes" is to say he believes in nonsense.
This doesn't feel like a simple difference of opinion concerning spending priorities. I don't believe Ben Carson understands anything at all about government.
Of course, even if Ben Carson resigned tomorrow, I doubt we will have a functioning HUD until about halfway through the next presidential administration. It will take at least the first half to roll back the damage that's been done.