Ben Carson cancels HUD’s $31K dining set order amid criticism

Secretary claims he was “as surprised as anyone”

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson canceled the order of a $31,000 taxpayer-funded dining set for his office amid widespread criticism. He also appeared to acknowledge that his wife, Candy Carson, played a big role redecorating his office.

“My wife also looked at catalogs and wanted to be sure that the color of the chair fabric of any set that was chosen matched the rest of the decor,” he wrote in a statement to CNN. “I made it known that I was not happy about the prices being charged and that my preference would be to find something more reasonable.”

Carson also claimed he was “as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered.”

According to CNN, House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy asked HUD for records about office furniture expenses going back until early 2017.

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The New York Times previously reported that the purchase wasn’t cleared with the committee, which is supposed to sign off on office furnishing expenses over $5,000. A senior HUD official claimed she was demoted last year after she refused requests to sidestep the $5,000 rule.

Carson has advocated cutting funding for some HUD programs and famously warned against making public housing “too comfortable.” [CNN] Konrad Putzier