Ben Carson attempted to clarify on Thursday that he actually likes his housing department’s mission statement and he definitely doesn’t want to take out language affirming its dedication to fighting discrimination, as was previously reported.
The Huffington Post reported earlier this week that Amy Thompson, the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, sent a memo to Housing and Urban Development political staff announcing they were changing the department’s mission statement “in an effort to align HUD’s mission with the Secretary’s priorities and that of the Administration.”
The new mission statement, as reported by the site, read:
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.
That’s quite a departure from the current mission statement, which can still be viewed on HUD’s website and 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.
Notably, the phrases “inclusive” and “free from discrimination” were dropped, while the phrase “self-sufficiency” was added in. A department spokesperson insisted to CNN that “no new statement has been decided upon.”
But today, HuffPost obtained an email from Carson that appeared to backpedal on the changes. In the message, Carson told staffers that “nothing could be further from the truth” than the idea that the department was moving away from protecting people from housing discrimination and they were only “considering modest changes.” (Actually, lots of things in Carson’s world are further from the truth.)
Carson also wrote that HUD’s original mission statement was “a bit wordy perhaps but I agree with every word.” Even while defending the statement, Carson apparently couldn’t help but throw in a backhanded compliment.