Ben Carson’s HUD to Scrub Anti-Discrimination Language from Mission Statement

As the Trump administration seeks to cut HUD's funding, the agency is aligning its mission with “the secretary’s priorities.”

A year after beginning his position of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, Ben Carson has decided that it’s time to update the agency’s mission statement and remove words and phrases like “inclusion” and “free from discrimination.”

The agency confirmed on Wednesday that a leaked draft of the new mission statement reads:

“HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.”

The current mission statement reads:

“HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.”

In a March 5 memo to employees, Amy Thompson, the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, commented the change was “an effort to align HUD’s mission with the secretary’s priorities and that of the administration,” according to The Huffington Post.

“It’s not clear whether the new language is final,” HuffPost reports. “Thompson asked the political staff to send along any ‘comments or suggestions.'”

In a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon, HUD stated that “modest changes” would be made to its mission statement:

Why is HUD just now considering making changes to its mission statement used by the previous administration? Why didn’t Carson make these changes when he became the head of HUD in 2017?

The Trump administration has a track record of quickly deleting any language that doesn’t fit its agenda.

In January 2017, after President Trump was sworn into office, his administration deleted the civil rights page from the White House website, along with scrubbing all references to LGBT rights and any mention of climate change. A report called “Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights” also disappeared from the Department of Labor website.

Perhaps HUD changing its mission statement is related to the Trump administration suggesting an $8.8 billion cut to the agency, noted in the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget proposal released last month.

Carson tweeted on Feb. 12 that the proposal promotes “self-sufficiency”:

Meanwhile, according to a report from The Guardian published Feb. 27, Helen Foster, a senior career official in HUD, has alleged that she was demoted and replaced with a Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by funding expensive furniture for Carson’s office. The official limit is $5,000.

Acting secretary Craig Clemmensen told Foster that Carson’s wife, Candy, wanted her husband’s office upgraded, and allegedly instructed her to “find money” beyond the $5,000.

HUD had spent $31,561 on a “custom hardwood table, chairs and hutch” inside Carson’s office, according to The New York Times.

Carson claimed he had no knowledge the desk was being ordered. In a Facebook post on Feb. 28, he said, “Rest assured that there has been no dishonesty or wrongdoing by us.

“All the numbers and evidence are being gathered and a full disclosure is forthcoming. We suspect, based on past attempts, that they will continue to probe and make further accusations even without evidence or substantiation. We will continue to ask for God’s guidance to do what is right.”

Carson said in a statement March 1 that he now wants to cancel the order.

Related Story

Ben Carson on Why He’s Qualified to be HUD Secretary: ‘I Grew Up in the Inner City’

Ben Carson on Why He’s Qualified to be HUD Secretary: ‘I Grew Up in the Inner City’

Carson, president-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead housing and urban development in the U.S., recently called fair housing “communist.”

In November 2016, when Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has no prior housing experience, was asked in an interview what he knows about housing and urban development, he said, “I know I grew up in the inner city, and have spent a lot of time there, have dealt with a lot of patients from there, and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities.”

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  • Well what can we really say about this man? Not much at this point. He is a disappointment. I am from Detroit and we have schools named after this idiot. Sometimes in life you just have to be quiet because when you talk, people know what you really think. He should have just stuck to being a neurosurgeon, which is no small task. Leave politics to people who know what they are doing.

  • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

    Remember, a lot of Trumpers and Trumpettes feel that civil rights are not “fair” to straight white Christian people*. When Carson promises “fair”, does he mean “fair” as the NAACP, ADL, SPLC and Human Rights Project define it; or “fair” as the KKK and the alt-right define it?

    *Of which, for the record, I am one.

    • Charity Dell

      MARY PULLEN–The real problem is the fact that grown people with supposedly “college educations”
      put up with this nonsense in Congress and the so-called “administration.”

  • He reminds me of the Dave Chappell skit where he’s a blind KKK racist railing against blacks and has a huge number of white loyalist…then he pulls the hood off and to everyone’s surprise he’s an old black man. Well, he pulled the hood off and whites still love him.

  • Jeanne Martinson

    How is it that American news does not talk about this stuff? In Canada, he would have lost his position for misuse or funds or power.

  • An Innoxious Neighborhood Observer

    And HUD’s official statement reads: “HUD has been, is now, and will always be committed to ensuring inclusive housing, free from discrimination for all Americans.” Yet, the agency’s leadership decides to remove the expression of this commitment from its mission statement because it is “aligning with the priorities of the secretary” and the of course, the Trump administration. To remove this expressed commitment from the agency’s missions statement is a contradiction of terms and intent. Why remove the wording if that is your commitment … your mission.

    And the furniture purchase . . . the Secretary whose mission surrounds exclusion and discrimination responds, “I had no knowledge” yet HIS wife has this level of external input into his work? Who is really the secretary, Ben Carson or his wife?!?! He is one of the most “I didn’t know”, bordering ignorant smart men I have ever witnessed. He continues to “not know” and then decides to blame God for his leadership failures. Who does that! Maybe the Secretary needs a priority dose of self-sufficiency.

    I guess I will extend my “many thoughts and prayers” to the HUD secretary and the administration. Meanwhile, I will stand guard for the discriminatory language that will be sprayed across my self-sufficient home. You just have to love the oxymoronic, hyperbolic, asinine rhetoric and behavior of the current US politics and leaders.

  • Ben Carson is an educated sellout as a public servant first , and to the blacks and other unfortunate people that this society haven’t been fair and honest with . He as a professional Blackman is letting others dictate the way he runs HUD which will reference him ( a black man ) for further eroding civil progress in housing discrimination and discrimination period under this undercover racist we have as a president . Ben Carson is the epitome of an educated fool . He try and use his educated demeanor as if he’s helping the people , when actually selling them out to big real estate . Knowing this president have deleted priorities of civil rights and other social rights from the national ( not the whitehousse ( orange man ) ) agenda says he’s more than a racist , the devil and he’s not disguising it . He’s not American either check his birth certificate he’s trying to sell America to any country that have financed his racket . Do make America hate again !! And poor Ben , don’t be a contributor to eroding the progress of good people across the color(race) spectrum for their honorable sacrifices and courage for progress on housing and discrimination with all the hate and bigotry of the 1960’s and times pass !

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