Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently appointed Eric Blankenstein, a man who just seven months ago had racist blog posts he authored surface with him using the N-word and making other racist comments, to a HUD senior counsel position.
Blankenstein resigned from a policy director position at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in May, and now, Democrats are wondering how he was able to land this newest position. Six senators, including Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, Bob Menendez (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), asked Secretary Carson in a letter to explain his most recent hiring.
“In our country, private citizens may espouse whatever views they have, even abhorrent ones. What they do not have a right to is a six-figure federal job,” wrote the six senators, all of which are members of the Senate Banking Committee. “HUD has an important mission to ‘create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. It needs employees that can carry out and bolster that mission, not ones that call HUD’s commitment to it into question.”
Ben Carson has since responded, stating, “We all are human, we all make mistakes and learn from them – especially 15 years later – and we all deserve second chances. Eric’s impressive career and experience will be a great asset to the agency.”
In September 2018, according to the Washington Post, blog posts surfaced from 15 years ago in which Blankenstein claimed that white people using the N-word aren’t necessarily racist. “Fine… let’s say they called him n[—-]… would that make them racists, or just a**h***s looking for the most convenient way to get under his skin?”
He also said that the majority of hate crimes were hoaxes and that a proposal from the University of Virginia that imposed harsher academic penalties for acts of intolerance was “radical idiocy.”
At the time the posts surfaced, Blankenstein responded, “The need to dig up statements I wrote as a 25 year old shows that in the eyes of my critics I am not guilty of a legal infraction or neglect of my duties, but rather just governing while conservative.”
The New York Times reported that Blankenstein never apologized for the blog posts as he claims “the incident gave him no insight into how he should perform his job."
This is another problematic person in the Trump administration. Hopefully, Democrats get answers.
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