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Late-night on Ben Carson: 'Now is not the time to cut back on disaster relief'

Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah addressed Carson’s search for disaster relief funding and also Ted Cruz’s ‘liking’ of a pornographic clip on Twitter

Late-night hosts on Tuesday addressed the the internet mayhem that ensued after Ted Cruz inadvertently “liked” a pornographic clip on Twitter, and also the latest at secretary Ben Carson’s department of housing and urban development, a government agency crucial to helping communities rebuild in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“After the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, dozens of cities and millions of Americans are beginning the rebuilding process,” began NBC’s Seth Meyers. “In doing so, they’ll have to rely on assistance from the federal government, specifically on agencies like the department of housing and urban development known as HUD.”

“To lead the agency, President Trump appointed former Republican presidential candidate Dr Ben Carson,” Meyers continued. “Now, regardless of what you think of his politics, Dr Carson’s own story is remarkable. He was raised by his mother, he had to work several jobs to make ends meet, and he went on to become one of the most respected pediatric neurosurgeons in the world.

“But his qualifications to lead HUD were rightfully questioned almost immediately after Trump announced his nomination,” the host explained, adding that in addition to a total lack of government experience, Carson opposed some of the agency’s fundamental intentions.

“During his confirmation hearing, senator Elizabeth Warren questioned Dr Carson about whether or not the Trump family would benefit financially from his tenure as HUD secretary,” Meyers said. “And Carson gave this unfortunate answer.”

The host then aired a clip from Carson’s confirmation hearing, in which he responded to Warren’s questioning by saying “it will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any American”.

“And so far, he’s succeeding!” joked Meyers. “Carson wasn’t just making bizarre statements. He was also making changes at HUD, which critics have called a near dismantling of the agency. An investigation by ProPublica in New York magazine, for example, found that ‘new leadership was often actively discouraging initiative on the part of employees’ and ‘actively slowing down new initiatives’.”

Meyers went on: “When HUD isn’t busy hiring unqualified people, they’re not hiring people at all. According to employees, and this is something secretary Carson also admits, almost all of the top legal jobs below him are still not filled.”

“All of this is especially troubling right now because more and more people will come to rely on HUD as it faces its greatest challenge yet under this administration,” Meyers said, before explaining how vital the agency was to disaster relief funding after Hurricane Katrina. “Although Carson has promised that his agency would take care of families left homeless by the storm, thanks to his boss, the money may not be there to do so in the future.”

Meyers then detailed the agency’s 13% budget cut, which equals a $6bn reduction in its funds.

“Money to help homeowners and business rebuild after disaster goes through HUD’s $3bn community development block grant program that Trump has proposed getting rid of altogether,” the host explained. “And it’s not just HUD.”

“While Trump is busy praising agencies that are helping with disaster relief, they’re also the same agencies whose funding he wants to slash,” Meyers said. “Now is not the time to cut back on disaster relief programs, especially not when hurricanes are lining up like they have numbers at a deli.”

Trevor Noah focused on the day’s lighter news: in a short monologue, the Daily Show host turned his eye toward senator Ted Cruz, who “liked” a pornographic clip on Twitter late Monday night and woke up to an internet firestorm.

“Big news in the tech world today,” Noah began. “Apple announced the new iPhone 10. But who cares? Because this is the technology news that we’re interested in.”

Trevor Noah on Ted Cruz’s twitter gaffe

Noah then showed a news clip about the senator’s unfortunate gaffe, including the detail that the account whose hardcore pornographic clip he liked was called “sexual posts”.

“Of course Ted Cruz would search for porn by typing sexual posts,” joked Noah. “That is the most generic, lame way to search for pornography. What else does he search? ‘Uncovered swimsuit areas.’ ‘Reproduction showing the outside parts.’”

“Everyone is freaking out about this and they’re calling it a possible scandal all because a politician may have watched porn,” Noah said. “Come on people, it’s no big deal. Everyone watches porn. It’s part of being a normal human being, which is exactly why we know Ted Cruz didn’t do it.”

The host continued: “He’s pretending to like porn as a way to blend in with the rest of the human species. I know what this is. Trying to seem relatable as your first move into the 2020 presidential run. We’re not buying, it, Ted Cruz. You don’t watch porn. We know you got hacked.”