Housing Secretary Ben Carson confused a basic foreclosure term for the name of a cookie in congressional testimony

OXON HILL, MD, UNITED STATES - 2019/02/28: Ben Carson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, seen speaking during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, MD. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)Ben Carson.Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson confused a real estate term with Oreo cookies during a House hearing.
  • Carson did not understand the term REO, which means "real-estate owned."
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WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson became confused about a basic real estate term during a testimony in front of a congressional panel on Tuesday, asking if the congresswoman questioning him was referring to "Oreo" cookies.

During a hearing hosted by the House Financial Services Committee, California Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat, asked Carson if he is familiar with REOs, the abbreviation for real-estate owned.

"An Oreo?" Carson responded.

Porter quickly interjected, telling Carson, "No. Not an Oreo. An R-E-O. An R-E-O."

When Carson skeptically replied, "Real estate?," Porter asked if he knew what the "O" stood for. He replied "organization."

"Owned, real estate owned. That's what happens when a property goes to foreclosure," Porter said. "We call it an REO."

Carson has ran the department since 2017, where he has largely avoided controversies and gaffes, despite reports early on about large expenditures from his office on furniture and other items like a $31,000 dining set.

Many hearings have become tense as probes of various Trump administration officials have ramped up in recent months. As for Carson, he is primarily dealing with frustrated Democrats at odds with the Trump administration's handling of his department.

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