The Slatest

Ben Carson Just Used the “Women Be Shopping” Defense at a Congressional Hearing

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is in a bit of a pickle over having gotten caught ordering a $31,000 dining room set for his HUD office and then lying about it (or rather, letting a spokesman lie for him). On Tuesday he testified before the House Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and his explanation of the purchase was truly spectacular:

I was told the dining room set needed to be changed. I said, “Why?” “Because people are being stuck by nails, a chair collapsed with somebody sitting in it, it’s 50 years old.” I said, “OK, we can potentially do that.” I asked my wife, also, to help me with that. They showed us some catalogues. The prices were beyond what I wanted to pay. I made it clear that that just didn’t seem right to me. And I left it with my wife, I said, “help choose something,” but I said, “the money that is gonna be used, we need to take care of the deputy secretary’s office, and whatever is left over, take care of the dining room furniture.” It was very important to do that, and I realized that, but I had so many other things to do at that point. I had no assistant secretaries, I had no deputy secretary, I was running from place to place dealing with a lot of important issues so I really wasn’t concerned about furniture. The next thing that I, quite frankly, heard about it, was that this $31,000 table had been bought. I said, “What the heck is that all about?” I investigated, I immediately had it canceled. Not that we don’t need the furniture, but I thought that that was excessive.

Yes—Ben Carson said his wife (whose name is Candy Carson) had been left in charge of the purchase, then called it “excessive.”

Also of note: There appears to have been some vintage Carson bullshit going on in that part about the chair. What’s been previously reported is that the dining room furniture was replaced in part because an aide was worried that an old chair might collapse under a guest, not that one had already collapsed.

In any case, women be shopping! They do shop.