News & Politics

Ben Carson Offers a Laughable Explanation for That $31,000 Dining Set

Blaming your wife is a low blow.

Ben Carson speaks at The Gift of Life Banquet in Nevada
Photo Credit: screen grab

Under congressional questioning about the $31,000 dining set purchased for his office as Housing and Urban Development secretary, Ben Carson blamed safety concerns… and kinda his wife.

“People were stuck by nails, and a chair had collapsed with someone sitting in it,” said Mr. Carson, apparently referring to an email, sent by a senior aide last summer, in which she expressed the fear that the old dining set was falling apart and could lead to a mishap.

Although emails also show that HUD staff got an estimate for repairing the chairs, let’s just give him the benefit of the doubt on the need to replace the old dining set. They couldn’t find a replacement for less than $31,000? There were no chairs that would allow people to sit safely upon them for a cost of less than $990 apiece? Carson needed not just a large table and chairs, but $13,000 worth of breakfront and sideboard? But don’t blame Carson! Well, not Ben Carson. Maybe his wife is to blame, he seemed to suggest. Carson did call his wife Candy “the most frugal person in the world.” But he also said: 


Kind of begs for an explanation of what he means by “most frugal person in the world,” doesn’t it? The real question, though, is why Candy Carson, who is not a federal employee, was making federal purchasing decisions.

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Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.