Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson took aim at “political correctness” at a contentious committee hearing, warning that the impulse to control speech and expression would “destroy” the country.
During Tuesday’s House Financial Services hearing, Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-Virginia) raised previous comments Carson had made about “big, hairy men,” widely understood to be directed at transgender women, inviting him to apologize, but the secretary was having none of it.
“I think this whole concept of political correctness – you can say this, you can’t say that, you can’t repeat what someone said – is total foolishness and it’s going to destroy our nation,” Carson shot back, adding: “We need to be more mature than that.”
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Carson, a Republican, went on to deny that he was referring to transgender women in his prior remark – made at a HUD meeting last month – arguing that he was merely “relating a story” a women’s group told him about men entering their facility “and having to be accepted because of the rules that were in place.”
While he said he could not recall the group who told him that story, Carson added that they were based in Alaska.
Wexton later took to Twitter to lament the exchange, slamming Carson for his refusal to apologize and stating that “hateful words translate into discriminatory policy.”
Today I gave @SecretaryCarson the opportunity to apologize for his remarks slurring transgender women as, “big, hairy men.”
Regrettably, he declined that opportunity.
Hateful words translate into discriminatory policy—and Secretary Carson has demonstrated that time and again. pic.twitter.com/W1p7QGfGl2
— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) October 22, 2019
The Democratic representative has previously quarreled with Carson, decrying a new HUD policy rolled out earlier this year which allowed federally funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people on religious grounds, a move she called “incredibly dangerous.”
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Carson has been something of an anti-PC warrior for years, well before the highly politically incorrect president entered the Oval Office in 2016, regularly shredding the concept in media appearances and warning of “a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe” – at times even drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany.
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