Ben Carson appears to contradict Donald Trump on Puerto Rico in a tense exchange with a top Democratic congresswoman

Ben carson seriousAaron Davidson/Stringer via GettySecretary of HUD Ben Carson equivocated on his response to President Trump’s tweet before appearing to disagree with him

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Rep. Maxine Waters exchanged words at aHouse Financial Services Committee hearing on Thursday, and Carson appeared to disagree with President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the federal government cannot provide aid to Puerto Rico “forever.”

Waters began the hearing by asking Carson if he agreed with the assertion Trump made in a tweet Thursday morning that hurricane aid to Puerto Rico would not continue indefinitely.

“I think that our job is to make sure that we take care of the disaster that has occurred,” Carson eventually responded. When Waters urged him to respond directly to whether he thought Puerto Rico should be abandoned, Carson stated, “Of course it should not be abandoned.”

Responding to another question from Waters about Trump’s accusations that Puerto Rico is to blame for its financial crisis, Carson said, “I don’t think it is beneficial to go around shaming people in general.”

Waters concluded this line of questioning by saying she was “glad to hear [Carson doesn’t] agree with the president.”

As Trump threatens to eventually pull relief resources from Puerto Rico, 84% of the island remains without power, 5,742 people remain homeless in 108 shelters on the island, and although hospitals are finally opening, cases of Leptospirosis, a serious bacterial infection, are beginning to emerge.

Congress approved $US36.5 billion in funds for disaster relief in Puerto Rico on Thursday, but the total cost of the hurricane couldĀ be as much as $US95 billion.

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