A Republican congresswoman blamed the “deep state” for ordering a $31,000 dining set for Ben Carson, President Donald Trump’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Daily Beast first reported Rep. Claudia Tenney’s (R-NY) comments Wednesday evening, which she made during an appearance on a local upstate New York radio show, Talk! Of the Town. The interview with Tenney was uploaded to Talk! Of the Town’s SoundCloud Wednesday, just one day after Carson blamed his wife for buying the extravagant dining set.
“Somebody in the deep state, it was not one of his people apparently, ordered a table, like a conference room table or whatever it was for a room,” Tenney said. “And that’s what the cost was. Ben Carson tried to—he said ‘You know how hard it is to turn it back because of the way that the procurement happens?'”
Notably, HUD first tried to say that neither Carson nor his wife were aware of the purchase of the $31,000 dining set, but emails obtained by watchdog group American Oversight indicate the pair picked out the furniture themselves.
Tenney’s comments are the latest in a line of Trump supporters who have taken to blaming the “deep state” — loosely defined as career government staffers who Trump supporters believe want to take down the president — for many Trump administration scandals.
“I know that Ben Carson did not order that table,” Tenney said later in the interview, doubling down. “It has nothing to do with him. He comes from, you know, poverty.”
On Tuesday, Carson said his wife was responsible for selecting the expensive dining set.
“I invited my wife to come and help,” the secretary said at a House committee hearing. “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.” It was his wife, he said, who “selected the color and style… with the caveat that we were both not happy about the price.”
Tenney has been the subject of a number of controversial stories as she gears up to run for re-election this fall. Amidst the Rob Porter scandal, which resulted in the firing of the White House staff secretary after two of his ex-wives said he had abused them, Tenney said she wasn’t sure Porter had actually committed a crime.
In an interview, she said it was “easy to line people up” to make accusations.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, Tenney also recently drew headlines for saying it was “interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats.”