He’s Baack: Trump Appointee Who Quit Consumer Watchdog Agency After Racial Backlash Gets New Government Job at HUD
Apparently, when it comes to the Trump administration, a racially charged past is no bar to being able to stay employed from one post to another.
Such seems to be the case with Donald Trump appointee Eric Blankenstein, Politico reports.
Just weeks following his quitting his job enforcing fair lending practices for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after racially charged blogs he wrote came to light, Blankenstein has popped up with a new job with the Department of Housing and Urban Development — where, according to Politico:
Blankenstein has been hired by HUD’s Office of General Counsel as a senior counsel working on matters relating to Ginnie Mae, the government-run corporation that promotes homeownership, according to people familiar with the matter. He will make $166,500 a year.
HUD did not respond to requests for comment about Blankenstein, but according to the Washington Post, consumer advocates and leading Democrats are outraged:
“What’s the Trump HUD’s excuse for hiring him after knowing full well what kind of character they were dealing with? What a message this sends: Racism won’t just be tolerated in this administration, it’ll lead to more opportunities,” Derek Martin, director of consumer watchdog group Allied Progress, said in a statement.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), the ranking Democrat of the Banking Committee, who previously objected to Blankenstein resigning from the CFPB rather than being fired, also criticized the move. HUD “should be working to address housing discrimination across the country, not serving as a dumping ground for a disgraced, racist Trump appointee,” he said.
The Washington Post in September first reported on Blankenstein’s blog posts from 2004 in which, among other things, he questioned whether use of a certain ubiquitous racial slur against African Americans was actually “racist,” and expressed skepticism about the prevalence of hate crimes.
As Vanity Fair notes, Blankenstein acknowledged writing the blogs, but did not apologize for them. And rather than being fired, as many critics sought, he was able to leave the CFPB on his own terms at the end of May.
Now, less than a month later, he is apparently back on the government payroll.