Politics & Policy

Ben Carson Blames Wife for Purchase of $31,000 Office Dining Set

Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson stands with his wife Candy as he officially launches his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in Detroit, Michigan, May 4, 2015. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters)

Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, suggested his wife was responsible for the purchase of a $31,000 dining set for his office during his testimony before a House committee Tuesday.

Carson said his wife selected the “style and color” for the dining set and indicated the order was placed before he became aware of the price, at which point he “immediately” cancelled the purchase.

“I left it with my wife,” he said. “The next thing that I, quite frankly, heard about it was that this $31,000 table had been bought.”

Carson defended the purchase in the Tuesday committee hearing, citing safety concerns that arose after one dining-room chair collapsed when sat on.

“People were stuck by nails, and a chair had collapsed with someone sitting in it,” Carson said, likely referring to an email sent by a senior aide last summer describing concerns with the existing furniture.

After initially denying that Carson or his wife, Candy, were involved in the purchase in any capacity, a HUD spokesman acknowledged their role earlier this month after internal emails revealed they were both consulted.

Representative Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, launched an investigation of the purchase in February after a former top HUD official, Helen Foster, filed a formal complaint regarding the purchase.

Carson told congressional investigators that the dining-set purchase provided a “opportunity” for the agency to examine their “internal controls,” which, he said, were improved after the acquisition of a new chief financial officer.

Senior White House aides are furious about the negative coverage the purchase has received and have intervened to help the HUD communications staff shape the narrative, according to CNN.

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More
World

Save the Eighth

There are many things to admire in Ireland’s written constitution. Most especially, the text includes, since a popular referendum in 1983, the Eighth Amendment: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to ... Read More
White House

The Comey & Mueller Show

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause -- and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and ... Read More