Ben Carson got called out for his evasive answers about bigotry.
During a House hearing on Thursday, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson kept giving deceptive, confusing answers to simple questions about the Trump administration's policies on discrimination.
And after an exasperating back and forth with Carson, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) finally had enough.
"We are all now more stupid than we were when we came in the room today, sir," Quigley said.
Carson was testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee about a decision by the Trump administration to remove guidance against LGBTQ discrimination from the housing department's website.
The guidance had been put in place by the Obama administration to make sure housing providers understand that federal nondiscrimination rules also apply to LGBTQ Americans.
If the guidance on how to interpret those rules isn't posted online, it's harder for LGBTQ people to find out their rights if they are unjustly turned down for housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and easier for housing providers to make excuses for discriminating.
And with no explicit guidance from the Trump administration — which is generally hostile to LGBTQ rights and equality — there's a real concern that officials might have quietly changed their interpretation of the rules to allow housing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or transgender Americans.
Inexplicably, Carson argued before the committee that not having the guidance on how to interpret federal rules online is actually a positive thing — and that if the guidance were public, Quigley "might not like" it.
When pressed to explain himself, Carson said again that Quigley "probably wouldn't agree with" the guidance.
"Because it goes along with allowing people to discriminate against LGBTQ youth?" Quigley replied.
Carson insisted, vaguely, that the current rules would "allow people to have a nondiscriminatory atmosphere."
"So if it says you can't have a discriminatory atmosphere, why don't you have guidance ... that instructs them not to discriminate?" Quigley pressed.
"The rules already say that," Carson said — failing to acknowledge that the whole point of guidance is to clarify those rules, and make sure they are followed correctly.
Quigley, getting visibly exasperated, said: "Even if we go around and around, where's the guidance for that?"
"If you have a rule that tells you what to do, you don't need more guidance on that," Carson said, with a self-satisfied smirk.
"We are all now more stupid than we were when we came in the room today," Quigley replied, ending the frustrating exchange.
LGBTQ people who are homeless, including teens, are endangered by Carson's cavalier attitude towards their safety and equality.
"Once again, Secretary Carson demonstrates a complete disregard for the safety and well-being of LGBTQ people facing homelessness — even LGBTQ youth," David Stacy of the Human Rights Campaign told NBC.
The Trump administration is currently being sued to have the details of the nondiscrimination policy revealed — yet the best public defense they can muster is Carson's embarrassing double-speak.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.