US Housing Secretary says poverty is a "state of mind"

Ben Carson made the comments during a radio interview

US Housing Secretary says poverty is a "state of mind"

Image: Alan Diaz / AP/Press Association Images

The Housing and Urban Development Secretary in the US Ben Carson said in an interview that "having the wrong mindset" contributes to poverty.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," the retired neurosurgeon said during an interview with SiriusXM Radio released on Wednesday evening.

"You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there.

"And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom."

Carson, who ran for President in 2016, was appointed by President Donald trump before being confirmed in March. He argued that parents can teach children to develop "the mindset of a winner" to combat poverty.

"A lot of it has to do with what we teach children," he said. "You have to instill into that child the mindset of a winner [...] There's also a poverty of spirit. You develop a certain mindset."

However, he continued by saying that the majority of people don't have a defeatist attitude and that the government can provide help for those in need. 

Carson's portfolio has seen a 13.2% decrease in its annual budget for 2018.

Previous controversies

In March 2014, in an interview with conservative news outlet Breitbart, Carson compared the modern American government to Nazi Germany.

In 2015, Carson made headlines for saying he believes Egyptian pyramids were used to store grain.