Trump’s CFPB Nominee Has Yet to Comment on Blankenstein’s Racist and Sexist Writing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the face of widespread media coverage of Eric Blankenstein’s history of racist and sexist writing, Trump’s pick to lead the CFPB, Kathy Kraninger, has been radio silent. She hasn’t said a word publicly about how she will respond, if confirmed, to the controversy surrounding the man who oversees CFPB fair lending enforcement.
Last month it was revealed that Kraninger has not been doing much (any?) work at the Office of Management and Budget since her nomination for CFPB Director. When news broke that FEMA had transferred $10 million to ICE, something Kraninger would have had purview over, it was noted that she told Senators she didn’t review the request “since the discussions occurred after [her] nomination.”
“Kathy Kraninger’s refusal to publicly condemn Eric Blankenstein’s racist and sexist writing speaks volumes about her values and priorities. Her silence is deafening. It’s not complicated. Would she fire him if she were already CDPB director?” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.
Frisch continued,“Kraninger told Senators she has not been doing her job at OMB since Trump nominated her to lead the CFPB, so she’s had all of the time in the world to weigh-in. The American people have a right to know where she stands before the Senate moves forward with her nomination.”
According to a report in the Washington Post last week and subsequent research unearthed by Allied Progress, Eric Blankenstein wrote that calling someone “n—-r” (he actually used the word) didn’t make them a racist, asked “does it matter that someone got beat up because they were black,” claimed that hate crime “hoaxes” are “three times as prevalent as actual hate crimes,” blamed a woman’s right to choose as the reason a pregnant woman was murdered, and lamented that women can “‘f— someone [they] shouldn’t have’” and use abortion to “‘get rid of the problem’” but men can’t. He also likened life-saving stem cell research to the Holocaust.
In his initial response to the controversy, Blankenstein went on the attack, saying in a statement issued by Mulvaney spokesman John Czwartacki, that his critics were only angry because he was “Governing While Conservative.” Then on Monday, as news of a “rebellion” and deep “dissent” within the CFPB spread, he changed his tune, blaming the issue on a youthful lapse in judgment. In an email to staff he wrote, “do I regret some of the things I wrote when I was 25…absolutely.” He apologized only for “the tone and framing” of his views – as if there is a better “tone” or “framing” for racism. Last night, the New York Times destroyed Blankenstein’s his latest excuse when it uncovered his 2016 defense of racist birther conspiracy theorists. His request, “Help me understand why questioning the place of President Obama’s birth is racist,” was written on a little known, right-wing message board.
Also this week, American Banker reported the CFPB employee union has called on Mulvaney to take “swift and decisive action” against Blankenstein over his writing, which they say shows “he is unfit for any leadership position in the federal government.” This followed news that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown have called for Blankenstein’s ouster, with Brown taking to the Senate floor and calling on Mulvaney to act. In fact, Senate Democrats sent a letter to Mulvaney demanding he explain the vetting process that led to Blankenstein’s hiring.
WHAT HAS KRANINGER BEEN UP TO SINCE JULY?
When Asked If She Played Any Role in Supplemental Budget Requests Related to Trump’s Child Separation Policy, Kathy Kraninger Said She Didn’t Review Any “Since the Discussions Occurred After My Nomination”
- Kathy Kraninger Said She “Did Not Personally Review” A Supplemental Funding Request Under Her Purview, “Since The Discussions Occurred After [Her] Nomination.” “I had no role in setting the policy. Since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has an extensive role in supporting agencies as they implement the President’s priorities and agenda including reviewing legislative proposals, regulatory proposals, and the availability of budgetary resources, I have participated in a number of meetings on immigration and border security in that context. DHS submitted a reprogramming and transfer request to the Committees on Appropriations, Subcommittees on Homeland Security, on June 30th. I did not personally review the request, since the discussions occurred after my nomination.” [Questions For Ms. Kathleen Laura Kraninger, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 07/19/18]
- Senators Sherrod Brown, Catherin Cortez Masto, Robert Menendez, and Elizabeth Warren had asked Kathy Kraninger, “Were additional resources requires to implement the child separation policy? If so, did the Office of Management and Budget approve or reject any requests for additional resources or play any other role in providing resources? What role did you personally play in determining whether to approve or deny any such requests?” [Questions For Ms. Kathleen Laura Kraninger, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, 07/19/18]
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