WH: HUD, Carson looking to be 'more responsible with taxpayer dollars'

The White House said Thursday it supported HUD Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Government indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong Noem takes pledge to restore 'patriotic education' in schools MORE's decision to return a dining room set worth tens of thousands of dollars that had recently been ordered for his personal office.

She went on to add that she is "not aware" of any interest by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE in purging any members of his Cabinet after accusations of reckless spending.

When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the Department of Housing and Urban Development purchase, as well as other Cabinet members' reported spending, she backed Carson's decision to cancel the order.  

"The order you referenced was canceled; they are looking for another option that is much more responsible with taxpayer dollars," she said during her press briefing. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Carson and HUD have been under fire since reports of the office spending surfaced this week. In a statement on Thursday, Carson said he wasn't aware of the price tag and announced he would cancel the order.

"I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered," Carson said.

"I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement."

The report came on the heels of a HUD official saying she was replaced in her role after she refused to fund a redecoration of Carson's office.

Helen Foster — a senior career official at the department — alleged in a complaint she filed with a watchdog for federal employees that she was asked shortly before President Trump's inauguration by then-acting HUD Secretary Craig Clemmensen to assist Carson's wife with getting funding to redecorate his office, The Guardian reported.

She said in the complaint she told Clemmensen there was a $5,000 limit to what could legally be spent on improvements to Carson's suite.