Ben Carson Says He's ‘Glad Trump Is Drawing Fire' Away From Him

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson speaks to employees of the agency in Washington, D.C., on March 6. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Even as the White House reels and attempts to sidestep all the allegations against President Donald Trump, one well-known member of his cabinet evidently seems just fine with all the chaos: Development of Housing and Urban Secretary Ben Carson.

"Let me put it this way," Dr. Carson told theWashington Examiner during an interview Wednesday. "I'm glad that Trump is drawing all the fire so I can get stuff done."

The comment came as the president and the West Wing continued to face and fend off rampant allegations of the Trump campaign’s links and suspected collusion with Russia, as well as Trump’s second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin while attending the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month.

Some of that fire was also stoked Friday when Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned his post over Trump’s decision to appoint New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as the administration’s new communications director.

Carson, a neurosurgeon who was one of the presidential candidates in a loaded Republican Party field that Trump beat out, also said he’d been forced to learn the ins and outs of his new position on the fly and that the department’s workload is quite tasking, given eight deputy and assistant secretary posts are still vacant.

"There's no question that I've been forced to learn very rapidly a lot of stuff. But that's OK," Carson said. "I happen to have some excellent people around me at the non-assistant-secretary level, at the non-deputy-secretary level. Everybody's doing two or three times more than they ought to be doing."

A running tally of the vacancies in top administration jobs shows that while 63 people have been nominated or announced, only 33 have been confirmed by the Senate and 114 remain empty, according to The New York Times.

But Carson may have a point, as HUD, despite being short of top staff members, has made some headway in combating homelessness. The department awarded $50 million worth of housing counseling grants around the country on July 6 as part of an effort to avoid foreclosures, according to a statement. And a week ago, $2 billion was made available to local homelessness programs around the country.

While Carson seems to view Trump’s ongoing sagas involving the media and Russia as a benefit, some vehemently disagree, even a fellow Republican. The GOP has stalled on a number of fronts while trying to enact Trump’s agenda, specifically revamping health care, which led Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) to blast the administration.

"I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration, because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction," Simpson told Politico in a report published Thursday. "At first it was, 'Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He'll learn, he'll learn.' And you just don't see that happening."