HUD Secretary Ben Carson stumped during congressional hearing

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was stumped during his Tuesday testimony before the House Financial Services Committee when asked by Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., about foreclosure rates for real-estate owned, or REO, properties. Carson seemed unfamiliar with the term, confusing it with Oreo cookies.

In another contentious exchange with Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Carson was asked once again about the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion and, once again, drew a blank.

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., defended Carson, calling Beatty’s question “unfair.” Zeldin noted that HUD doesn’t have an “Office of Minority and Women Inclusion” under that name. The office that serves that function in HUD is called the “Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” but Carson seemed unclear about that as well.

From the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Carson clashed with Democratic lawmakers. Citing delays in disaster aid to Puerto Rico, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said his department “is actively causing harm” to the people it is intended to help.

Perhaps the most heated exchange of the day, however, came with Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who pressed Carson on substandard housing conditions, and the exchange produced another heated moment after Carson refused to answer “yes” or “no” questions.

Later in the day Tuesday, Carson responded to the Oreo controversy with a Twitter missive to Porter.

The cookie maker, too, couldn’t resist getting into the action Tuesday.

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