One-on-one with Ben Carson

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development discusses housing affordability and his recent Oreo controversy.
8:20 | 06/05/19

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Transcript for One-on-one with Ben Carson
I do want to start with secretary Ben Carson and our exclusive interview today on a crisis that touches all of us. How is seen in its affordability in this country take a look at these numbers. We talked to secretary Ben Carson about what he agrees is a crisis one and three Americans pay more than 30%. Are there income in housing costs that's very hide its forty million Americans struggling to make ends meet the national average monthly rent 14100 dollars in April. And the big cities their New York City 4100 dollars on average LA DC Seattle all over 2000 dollars a month. Chicago Denver Atlanta out other cities are all above average we. In Carter was secretary Carson today because he's putting on a showcase of what he says. Is it affordable housing solution tiny homes mobile homes and trailers that are all on display on the National Mall. So what why that why bring out all these mobile homes. The National Mall on the shadow of the capital. Well you know right now we're having a tremendous problem with affordable housing in this country this is America this is the place that is the can do place. A place of innovation. And that's what we're showing here we're showing the technological innovations. That can help address the affordability problem. In unit. This tiny home that's behind us. Cost a fraction. Of folks what a new. Average new home cost you think the situation right now affordable housing which you've taken on. You caught a crisis yes I was its occurrences because even though the economy is chucking along extremely well. If you're spending. You know thirty to 50% of your income housing. You don't really have the opportunity to do the other kinds of things that. Allow you to enjoy life so that's that's a problem. It consists actually you know some nice who's sitting areas is pretty finances. So how our buildings like this one how can that solved. If former house tests just by being much more affordable. Which you would you live and one that is mr. secretary. If I had to put a very comfortable. Biggest thing you've learned on the job these past years. The biggest thing it's probably learning how to do here. Consider yourself an aircraft now I'm and and that. There's bureaucrats and think the rules are more important. Oh. And surgeons and the thing. Goals. Court. And her vote but we've been working to remove a lot of bureaucracy. China has. These things take a lot of heat from Democrats they have taken aim your policies that to community leadership. One of these new policies as if you were. An American citizen year legal resident who receive public housing assistance and you happen to live with. Police who is undocumented. You would no longer qualify. Rather the rule actually states that specifically that the secretary. May not. Provide housing assistance. Anyone who is here illegal and it further states that if the secretary discovers that someone. Who is here illegally is harboring someone. Who is not here legally. That he must end their assessment. Specifically thinks that. Why he pushed this was this an ideal you cannot put on your own because because the law. And you know we're a nation of laws and if the lawmakers don't like they need to change it. That's your own agency says 55000. American children could be addicted. Under this false and I think we also talk about the hundreds of thousands not millions. Who are waiting for assistants who are here illegally for policy that Democrats. Giving you some heat for his this. Rollback of anti discrimination. Possibly equal access rule was put in place as you know parents were sixteen. Why did you take that on was there. You talked about or ever release of the risks and concerns from residents a lot of providers what were those concerns what we hearing why I had a lot of women's group. We've got tons of correspondence from women's group has some come and visit me. Who are and women shelters in many cases trying to escape abusive situations. And they say. Then you know. You know typical male comes and and wants to be wish them and their bathroom in addition our and they feel that their rights are being. So what we're saying. Is we want to be fair to everybody. Well we don't want anybody's rights to trump fairness for another group I've got to ask you about Oreo gate. In your appearance before the committee a couple of weeks ago did. It's them what litigated. You say you misheard the district criticisms sting and you're good sense of humor about. It I expect criticism. You know we don't really talk about Rios. Anymore we talk about foreclosed properties. I can honestly say there's not been single conversation I've had. Since I've been here we've talked about Rios do I know what they are of course could I remember what oh was at that particular moment now I couldn't. But that helps everybody. In we use these acronyms all the time have to times in my face and that means work. And though it makes good they know what a concept this. In up it's silly you know we engage in hot gotcha stuff when we have such big policy issues to do with. And that's what I want to talk about probably actually solve these problems. Not get off into the weeds. Here evo he earned comfort you can't do this your mama Sox and I think. It's that your kitchen for four oh it's a nice kitchen and you see the bathroom Hitler. You're the only African American members at its campus. If you won't. Now I'm not allowed but. In again if it goes back to. Being there it. Some house network because it's a neurosurgeon. Printed on people from every part of the world. When I opened in hand. I'm operating on the thing that makes them. Not just can not than those kinds within its. So I look at people and I think about people and and not loans as. Secretary thanks so much. Eric thanks again have been Carson for his time there and he says and clarity is our agency's reporter and producer and he says he's planning to leave office at the end of the president's first term if not before this is clearly one of the things we learned today you are there. He really chiefs at some of the its into the constraints in the job and the politics of the job. He does and I think that he he likes the idea of serving his country is what he said to us but he doesn't like the idea of all of these bureaucratic rules that he asked to abide by. And I think it's also hard for him to sit in these hearings and to be criticized us for brownlee from Democrats. On policies that he thinks are necessary to move the nation along. It ended we should say is a footnote it didn't make it into the kind of he did win some praise this week from one liberal icon in the congress Alexandria cocktail Cortez of New York she's actually treated praise and Ben Carson. Well on a very narrow issue though -- which she was talking about was the went straight role he said he was willing to discuss Sydor to revisit this is a federal housing rule that says that if you commit a crime that you might we can be kicked out of federal I was told us he'd be willing to meet with her so we'll see if that ever happens and clarity thanks so much for your reporting and much more from and and the team on abcnews.com.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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