During a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday, California representative Katie Porter asked the HUD Secretary Ben Carson why it seemed homes bought with Federal loans were more frequently foreclosed on than those purchased through private lenders. Homes taken over by their lenders are called Real Estate Owned properties.
When Porter asked Carson if he was familiar with that term, the 67-year-old former neurosurgeon apparently had something else on his pea brain.
It went like this. Porter asked.
“Do you know what an R.E.O. is?”
The congresswoman taken aback, said,
“…no not an Oreo. An R-E-O.”
Carson took his best guess.
“What’s the O stand for?”
Carson ventured a guess…
Porter later posted on Twitter, with video of the super-awkward exchange.
“I asked Secretary Carson about REOs — a basic term related to foreclosure — at a hearing today. He thought I was referring to a chocolate sandwich cookie. No, really.”
Carson attempted to offset the incident with humor by tweeting that he was sending the congresswoman a package of Oreo cookies.
“OH, REO! Thanks. Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!”
Twitter was NOT having it. Historian and author Kevin Kruse tweeted,
“Yes, it’s hysterical that you’re almost comically ignorant about the basic issues involved in your position. Hilarious.”
Comedian W. Kamau Bell tweeted that he, too, found nothing funny about Carson’s flub,
“You are the worst of us. Ignorantly smirking your way through the hearing while people are losing their homes & homelessness is on the rise. Also the condescending way you talked to Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. (Ayanna) Pressley was sexist & beneath the dignity their office. & your joke sucks.”
(Photo, screen grab; via NY Daily News)