Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson has come under fire for purchasing a $31,000 dining set for his office, and misleading the public about his involvement in the decision. But, according to Jonathan Swan, chief of staff John Kelly today defended the purchase to reporters as a wise long-term investment:
Kelly said $31,000 sounds like a lot of money, but to put it in context he asked a reporter how much they think the chair they’re sitting on costs. Kelly said it’s probably worth hundreds of dollars but it will last a long time. He rationalized Carson’s $31,000 outlay by saying the table could last for 80 or 100 years.
Trump’s administration isn’t always big on long-term planning when it comes to things like climate change, where the 100-year picture is not exactly foremost on anybody’s mind. But at least they’re thinking long term about the executive dining needs of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Our grandchildren may lose some coastal cities we currently enjoy, but they can rest assured they will never need to fund another dining set for the HUD secretary.
“We all have to recognize that there are other things that are important here and don’t get caught up in these little squabbles and blow them out of proportion,” Carson said, “and spend all of our time talking about that.”
Ben Carson referenced a line he said came from Joseph Stalin, a quote that’s believed to have gained prominence as a conservative social media meme, during his closing statement at Saturday night’s Republican debate.
“Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down you have to undermine three things — our spiritual life, our patriotism, and our morality,” Carson said, puzzling some observers, who couldn’t quite place the remark.
And for good reason. The mythbusters at Snopes.com, in a recently updated review, state that the line, which Carson is reported to have used before, have little evidence to back up that it came from Stalin. The CNN Reality Check team rated its attribution to Stalin as “false.”