MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Department of Housing and Urban Department Secretary Ben Carson toured the Hawthorne Village housing development Tuesday, which has eco-friendly amenities and subsidized rents well below market rates.

“Just because you are a low-income person, doesn’t mean you have to live in squalor,” Carson said.

While President Trump and Sec. Carson have been criticized for not focusing on — and even cutting — housing funding, Carson says the president will issue an executive order soon.

“He has worked very closely with me on our drive for affordable housing, and in fact, there will shortly be an EO signed very shortly about affordable housing,” Carson said.

While Carson cited this project as evidence of the president’s commitment, WCCO still checked. It turns out the $2.7 million federal HUD loan this project received came from President Obama’s administration.

As President Trump rolls out his reelection bid, his record on affordable housing and what he has done for minority communities will matter. In 2016, Trump won only 8% of the African American vote.

Trump lost Minnesota by only 50,000 votes in 2016 — something he is working to change in 2020.

“The president has put a bullseye on Minnesota. The fact that we saw a prominent cabinet member stopping by today is part of this campaign,” University of Minnesota professor Larry Jacobs said.

He added, “The president and the administration will be making regular visits in Minnesota as part of their effort to win over the Gopher state.”

In addition to touring that Minneapolis development, Sec. Carson also had a private lunch with Gov. Tim Walz. A Walz aide described the lunch as an informal meeting focused on housing issues.

Esme Murphy