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Ben Carson Says 'Poverty Is a State of Mind'

Housing Secretary Ben Carson is under fire for saying in an interview on Wednesday "poverty is a state of mind."
Image: SiriusXM's Town Hall With HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Hosted By Armstrong Williams
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson appears on SiriusXM's Town Hall hosted by Armstrong Williams at SiriusXM DC Performance Space on May 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.Larry French / Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is under fire for calling poverty a "state of mind."

In an interview with SiriusXM Radio host Armstrong Williams that aired on Wednesday, Carson was asked about what could be done to reduce the number of people living in poverty.

"If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty," Carson started. "She was a person who absolutely would not accept status of victim."

Carson said it’s mind over matter.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," said Carson. "You take somebody who has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee you in a little while they'll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom."

Carson: Poverty is a

May 24, 201700:35

Carson also said parenting and a “sense of strong values” played a role in keeping people out of poverty.

When he ran for president during the 2016 primary, Carson spoke frequently about his rise from abject poverty and his prescription for an up-by-the-bootstraps approach to social progress.

This isn't the first time Carson has caught heat for controversial remarks as a Trump Cabinet member. In his first address as Housing and Urban Development Secretary he compared slaves to immigrants.

"There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships," he said. "They too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land."

Related: Ben Carson Calls Slaves ‘Immigrants’ in First HUD Remark

Later that day, Carson apologized for his remarks saying, “The two experiences should never be intertwined, nor forgotten."

On the campaign trail he criticized former President Barack Obama's black identity and connection with the African American community because of his biracial and bicultural heritage, calling it "a bit of a stretch."

The former neurosurgeon was sworn in as HUD Secretary in March and he promised to use his “gifted hands” to heal the country's affordable housing woes. He has spent this spring on a listening tour, visiting urban housing developments in various cities such as Columbus, Ohio, Detroit, and Miami.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts more than $6 billion in funding from the HUD's budget.

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