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GOP lawmaker blames 'deep state' for Carson's $31K dining set

GOP lawmaker blames 'deep state' for Carson's $31K dining set
© Greg Nash

Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday dismissed the controversy surrounding the purchase of a $31,000 dining set for Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonOvernight Energy: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military Overnight Energy: Political employee to replace Interior inspector general amidst investigations| White House pauses plan to bail out coal and nuclear| Top Armed Services Dem warns Trump coal plan on military bases could hurt national security HUD political appointee to replace Interior Department inspector general MORE's office, blaming the decision on the so-called deep state.

Speaking on the "Talk! of the Town" radio show in upstate New York, Tenney said the controversy had been "misunderstood," and that it was unfair to place blame on Carson for ordering the lavish dining set.

"Somebody in the deep state – it was not one of his people apparently – ordered a table, like a conference room table or whatever it was for a room, and that's what the cost was," Tenney said.

The "deep state" refers to a conspiracy theory that deeply entrenched government employees are working to undermine President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE and his agenda.

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"Ben Carson tried to — he said 'you know how hard it is to turn it back because of the way that the procurement happens?'"

Tenney's interview was reported Wednesday by the Daily Beast.

Carson has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over the purchase of the furniture set, which included a table, chairs and a hutch, and was intended to replace an older table in the secretary's office.

He defended the purchase on Tuesday, telling a House Appropriations Committee subcommittee that the decision to replace the old furniture set was made due to safety concerns, and that he had left the details of redecorating his office to his wife and staff.