Ben Carson Claims 'Oreo' Flub A Result Of Mishearing, Not Incompetence

Nobody is buying it, Mr. Secretary. The chief of housing and urban development should recognize "REO."

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wants people to know he’s not incompetent at his job ― he’s just a little hard of hearing.

In a Wednesday morning appearance on Fox Business, the Trump appointee sought to recast his abysmal performance at a congressional hearing the previous day, where he’d repeatedly struggled to explain basic concepts fundamental to the work he oversees at HUD.

Addressing the already infamous interaction with Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Carson told Fox that he’s “very familiar” with the terms she used, but that he “was having difficulty hearing her.”

Carson’s excuse doesn’t track. Video of the hearing shows him continuing to converse with Porter even as he repeatedly draws blanks throughout her questioning and asks her to explain how things he’s in charge of function.

At one point, Porter asks Carson what an REO is. Clearly going blank on the answer, he tries to humorously recast it as an “Oreo.” (REO stands for “real estate owned” ― a term used to describe property that doesn’t sell at foreclosure.)

Carson told Fox he had no such lapse. “I’m very familiar with foreclosed properties and REOs,” he said. “I’ve read extensively about them, knew about them even as a teenager.”

In an interview with MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, Porter seemed far from reassured.

“I’m sorry, but respectfully, I was very clear in my words,” the congresswoman said. “I was using the term REO and when he couldn’t hear me, or I thought he was mishearing me, I took pains to politely correct him — to spell out the acronym R-E-O.”

“I asked him at that point ― to be sure we were on the same page so that we could have a productive conversation ― if he knew what an REO was and he gave the incorrect answer,” she said.

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