HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired
Ben Carson speaks to CBS News (screen grab)

Secretary Ben Carson's Dept. of Housing and Urban Development on Friday tried to contain the damage caused by President Trump's shutdown of the federal government. HUD sent letters to 1500 landlords that were part of a federal program, instructing them to use reserve funds from a federal program to avoid evicting tenants.

HUD officials, according to The Washington Post, were unaware the program they directed landlords to use had already expired.

Calling it "a last-minute effort to prevent the eviction of thousands of tenants," the Post notes a "lot of those tenants live in units covered by a HUD program that many agency officials didn’t realize had expired on Jan. 1," and adds that "they are now unable to renew."

This ignorance of its own programs is just another example of the Trump administration's apparent lack of understanding of what the government does and how it works.

On Friday the Post reported that White House officials had not previously understood "the breadth of the potential impact," of the government shutdown.

"The officials said they were focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene."

One conservative commentator put it more succinctly. "Team Trump was so ready to shut down" the government, David Frum tweeted, because "they had no idea" what the government does.