Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told FOX Business “we have reached a sad point in our country” in response to calls for his resignation following a fiery exchange on Capitol Hill Thursday.
“I think we've reached a very sad point in our country where a hearing that is supposed to be about what the policies are becomes just attack, attack, attack. Not being very interested in what the answers are," he said on "Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast” Friday.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., called for Carson's resignation, saying he is “inept” and lied to Congress about rule changes affecting the protections of transgender individuals at homeless shelters.
Carson said the rule in place since 2012 is "not in any way being altered" while additions were made to the 2016 rule.
“I wonder what Representative Wexton would say if she knew how much I've had to resist people who wanted the rule taken down all together,” he added.
Carson said he believes we have to be fair to everybody, but being fair "means exactly that.”
"It doesn't mean that you take one group and let their rights supersede other groups. So we try to be extraordinarily fair and that's why we're opening things up to public comment, we're looking at having a forum at HUD where we invite the various stakeholders in,” he told Neil Cavuto. “I want them to be able to express to each other what their concerns are before we make any definitive rule.”
Wexton's call for Carson to resign comes on the heels of another fiery back-and-forth on Capitol Hill earlier this week, when Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., attempted to the HUD Secretary about disparities in REO rates.
“I would also like to ask you to get back to me, if you don’t mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what an REO is?” Porter asked.
“An Oreo…,” Carson replied.
“R, no not an Oreo. An R-E-O," Porter said.
As far as REO is concerned, Carson said, "no one has used the term thus far in his tenure at the Department of Housing and Urban Development." But Carson said he knows what the term means as a result of living in Detroit.
"I am not sure what Rep. Porter was trying to do, but if she wanted an answer in terms of why the rates are somewhat higher for FHA properties, that's because they take on higher-risk customers.”
Carson went on to say that he expected to be attacked and criticized for leading HUD and supporting President Trump’s agenda. "I probably should be a little more prepared in these hearings for just hostility and attacks. My general modus operandi is if I am nice and respectful to them, they will be nice and respectful to me. But that obviously doesn't work in this setting.”
Carson has been Housing and Urban Development Secretary since March of 2017.