There is only one word for what Carson is and that word is “stooge.” One feels pretty confident assuming that President Trump himself barely knows that HUD exists and has no strong feelings about it. He probably offered Carson the job because someone told him it was suitably insignificant. But Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, and various other Oval Office cronies are more than aware of HUD and find its continued existence painful. Abolishing the department is not in the cards (yet), but if you were in their position surely you would recognize that the next best thing is to have someone in charge of it who is totally unqualified while you seize upon every available opportunity to cut funding for it.

This is why Carson’s entire tenure has been a long string of petty scandals, like the one currently playing out over his use of department funds to purchase $31,000 of furniture for his office, and embarrassing oopses, like last year when he found himself in Detroit extolling the virtues of Motor City Match, a program that helps businesses open up in the former industrial capital of the world, right after the Trump administration released a budget eliminating all funding for it. When the White House announces that they’re reducing your department’s budget by $6.2 billion and your response is a dashed-off statement about “fiscal responsibility” and “IT modernization,” you are not only not doing your job; you’re showing us you don’t even know what that job is.