Warren backs Carson for HUD secretary

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren: Education Dept lawyer may have violated conflict-of-interest laws Congress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Sanders plans to introduce single-payer bill in September MORE (D-Mass.) said Tuesday she will support Ben Carson's nomination for secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), changing her tune after a harsh confirmation hearing.

Warren lamented Carson’s “inexperience in the field,” but said she would not stand in the way of his confirmation. The former Republican presidential candidate was advanced by the Senate Banking Committee earlier in the day and is expected to be confirmed by the upper chamber in the near future.

Carson’s promises to protect LGBT people from housing discrimination, crack down on lead exposure and to not favor President Trump’s real estate companies when granting public housing contracts went a long way toward garnering Warren’s support, she said.

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“In light of these promises, I support Dr. Carson’s nomination, and look forward to working with him to ensure that he follows through on his commitments,” Warren said in a statement.

Warren’s approval is a sharp departure from the feisty exchange the pair had during Carson's confirmation hearing earlier this month.

HUD is responsible for hiring private contractors to build affordable housing projects. And Warren demanded that Carson refuse to do business with any real estate company linked to Trump to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

“Can you assure me that not a single taxpayer dollar you give out will financial benefit the president-elect or his family?” Warren asked Carson.

Carson promised to not “play favorites.”

“It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit [Trump],” Carson said.

But his response did not satisfy Warren.

“Do I take that to mean you may manage programs that will significantly benefit the president-elect?” she asked.

“You can take it to mean that I will manage things in a way that benefits the American people,” Carson responded.

“If there happens to be an extraordinary program that’s working for millions of people, and it turns out that someone that you’re targeting is going to gain $10 from it, am I going to say, ‘No, the rest of you Americans can’t have it?’ ” he added. “I think logic and common sense probably would be the best way.” 

Carson’s remarks disappointed Warren: “The problem is that you can’t assure us that HUD money — not of $10 varieties but of multimillion-dollar varieties — will not end up in the president-elect’s pockets,” Warren said.