Candy Carson rejected claims Friday morning that her husband, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, threw her under the bus in the midst of uproar over a $31,000 furniture set for his office.
Carson’s office recently ordered 17 pieces of furniture totaling $31,000 — a purchase that he said was done in the interest of safety, not redecorating. Carson canceled the order after news of his purchase sparked outrage from the public and lawmakers alike. But during a hearing before House appropriators on Tuesday, Carson appeared to pass the blame for the decision entirely to his wife.
“I invited my wife to come and help,” Carson said. “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.”
Candy Carson, however, was quick to defend the secretary’s testimony.
“Although many in the media would like to depict me as a victim who was ‘thrown under the bus,’ Ben and I are enjoying our 43rd year of marriage and we fully support each other in all endeavors and will continue to do so,” she tweeted.
Carson’s decision not to take full responsibility for the furniture purchase further provoked lawmakers like Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who questioned the secretary’s purchase in light of the agency’s handling of public housing.
Brown mocked Carson’s focus on a “wobbly chair” over the “unsafe and unsanitary conditions in public housing.”
“It’s HUD’s job to help end housing discrimination — that’s what the law said,” Warren added. “You said you would enforce these laws. You haven’t, and I think that’s the scandal that should get you fired.”
The debacle also raised questions over Candy Carson’s involvement in the agency.
“I would like to register my frustration with the ethical lapses,” Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) told the New York Times. “It is bad enough. More disturbing are the false public statements, compounded by the roles that the secretary’s family has taken in the department. Public service is a public trust.”