CarsonWatch Will Protect our Housing and Civil Rights Until Ben Carson Proves He Can

By Guillermo Mayer, President and CEO, Public Advocates 

Trump’s ties to Russia, his new Muslim travel ban, and congressional health care proposals have dominated the news over the last couple of weeks, but an equally grave threat to the everyday lives of millions of Americans emerged with relatively little notice: the confirmation of Dr. Ben Carson as President Trump’s housing secretary.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Carson was confirmed by the Senate despite having zero housing experience. Shockingly, Carson won confirmation even after refusing to block HUD dollars from directly benefiting Donald Trump’s real estate interests. Trump has already used the presidency to enrich himself, such as through the pay-to-play arrangement at his private Mar-a-Lago club. Imagine what the Real-Estate-Developer-In-Chief will do now that he has someone like Carson overseeing billions of dollars in redevelopment funds.

Why is it so hard for Secretary Carson to tell Donald Trump that HUD is not open for business to the president and his buddies?

Perhaps Secretary Carson can’t be bothered with Trump’s ethical problems because he is focused on acting upon some of his fringe views.

Donald Trump is the first president to be sued for racial discrimination as a real estate developer, which is why it should not surprise us that he selected a fair housing skeptic to run HUD. Secretary Carson could weaken existing Fair Housing Act protections, which he has likened to “social engineering”. This would dramatically undercut the efforts of local communities to promote vibrant, diverse neighborhoods. Carson, who once compared homosexuality to bestiality, could also weaken protections that ensure people can rent or buy a home regardless of who they love or their gender identity.

Just as alarming, Secretary Carson’s hostile view toward government programs risks the housing security of millions of Americans. Ideologues in Congress have already signaled their intent to weaken or dismantle HUD’s housing programs regardless of the impact on American families. This means that millions of Americans – from a young family buying their first home to a single mom who is trying to cover the rent – could lose the chance to have a decent place to call home.

Given the potential for unethical self-dealing, rolling back civil rights protections, or gutting core housing programs, we are going to fight any effort by Donald Trump and Ben Carson to harm our families, friends and neighbors.

That’s why we have launched CarsonWatch, a new mobilization effort that will watchdog the Trump administration and Secretary Carson.

Through our future blog posts, social media updates and action alerts, we will keep you posted on concrete ways that you can join the fight.