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Cummings Rejects Carson’s Invitation to Baltimore HUD Projects

Phil Hall
Jul 31, 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images/SeanPavonePhoto

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s effort to mend diplomatic relations between the Trump Administration and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) came to naught as Cummings turned down an invitation to join Carson on a tour of HUD’s work in Baltimore.
 
According to a Baltimore Sun report, Carson used his visit to Baltimore this morning to discuss the Trump administration’s Opportunity Zones program to create federally-designated zones eligible for incentives for investment. Maryland has 149 Opportunity Zones, with many of them located in Baltimore.
 
A spokesperson in Cummings’ office said the congressman was invited to participate with Carson on the tour last night, but declined the offer due to schedule conflicts. Carson’s attempt to hold a press conference in a vacant lot as part of the tour was disrupted when the owner of the lot, a local church, objected to Carson’s presence, arguing that HUD did not get permission to use the space. Carson cited the eviction as evidence of people working against each other rather than collaborating on a positive goal.
 
“We just have all this animosity all the time,” Carson told reporters during his press conference. “For instance, you guys know, you were set up on this property and right here is this church that said: ‘Get off our property.’ You know, a church? When we’re talking about helping the people. I mean, this is the level to which we have sunken as a society.”