Trump official Ben Carson refuses to apologise for anti-trans comments, claiming it would ‘destroy our nation’
United States secretary of housing and urban development Ben Carson has refused to apologise for anti-transgender comments while facing a grilling before Congress.
Carson faced anger after embarking on an anti-trans tirade during an internal department meeting in September, with at least one staffer walking out in protest last week after Carson referred to trans women as “hairy men”.
The Trump appointee, a long-time opponent of LGBT+ rights who has gutted protections for homeless trans people, also vented that society “no longer seems to know the difference between men and women”.
Ben Carson refuses to apologise for transphobic comments.
In an appearance before the Congressional Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Democratic representative Jennifer Wexton pressed Carson to “apologise for comments you made during a meeting with HUD staff last month”.
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
However, Carson insisted he was simply “relating a story that a women’s group told me about big hairy men”, though he was unable to name the group of women who supposedly told him the story, beyond claiming that they are “from Alaska”.
Wexton followed up: “You don’t feel the need to apologise for those comments?”
Carson responded: “No. 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, it’s going to destroy our nation, and we need to be more mature than that.”
The Trump official was previously accused of lying to Congress in May after a previous exchange with Wexton, a strong supporter of LGBT+ equality.
Carson published guidance on May 22 that would grant homeless shelters the right to refuse gender-appropriate housing for transgender people.
Just one day before the rules were published, Wexton had directly challenged Carson about whether he would eliminate protections for trans people.
Carson told her: “I’m not currently anticipating changing the rule.”
Reflecting on his latest comments, Wexton tweeted: “Hateful words translate into discriminatory policy — and secretary Carson has demonstrated that time and again.”
Ben Carson has a long anti-LGBT+ history.
He said: “For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said, ‘I’m Afghani today because I saw a movie about that last night.'”