Well, it’s a day that ends in “y,” and that means that the social media outrage echo chamber is in another tizzy about something that President Donald Trump did.
But this isn’t about the president’s tweets about “fake news” or Russia.
In this case, it’s about one of Trump’s supposed nominees for a top position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to the New York Daily News, the Trump administration selected Lynne Patton to lead HUD’s Region II office, which oversees federal housing programs in New York and New Jersey.
But it’s Patton’s previous experience, or lack thereof, that’s gotten people up in arms.
The headline from the New York Daily News article sets the scene quite nicely: “President Trump chooses inexperienced woman who planned his son Eric's wedding to run N.Y. federal housing programs.”
According to the article, Patton is a “longtime loyalist” of the Trump family who “arranged tournaments at Trump golf courses, served as the liaison to the Trump family during his presidential campaign, and even arranged Eric Trump’s wedding.”
The article notes that Patton has “zero housing experience,” and began working for the Trump family back in 2009 as the family’s event planner.
From the New York Daily News piece:
“Responsible for organizing, executing and assisting with upscale events and celebrity golf tournaments,” her LinkedIn profile says. “Handle celebrity talent acquisition for various marketing projects, philanthropic events and golf tournaments.”
From 2011 through January, she also helped run the Eric Trump Foundation, a charity that's now under investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Now, an article from the Daily Mail is not always the most reliable source of information, but Patton tweeted about the article itself back in March.
Don’t worry, we’ll get back to that.
So, the New York Daily News article notes that Patton has no housing experience, but that’s not entirely true, because Patton left the foundation in January and has been working at HUD ever since.
Patton’s HUD Twitter bio lists her as “Senior Advisor & Director of Public Engagement for @SecretaryCarson at @HUDgov.”
And we say that it’s her HUD Twitter bio because she appears to have two accounts: @LynnePatton, which features a banner image of Patton together with Trump in the Oval Office; and @LynnePattonHUD, where Patton has been tweeting about HUD matters for several months.
Back in March, Patton tweeted from her original account that her nearly 72,000 followers should follow her new HUD account. “Follow me at my new official @HUDgov account: @LynnePattonHUD!,” Patton tweeted on March 3.
That tweet was a retweet of a tweet from her HUD account, stating: “Thrilled to be on board at @HUDgov with @SecretaryCarson & his amazing team! Great things ahead for this country!”
That tweet contained a link the Daily Mail article, and while not everything that the Daily Mail writes is true, Patton’s inclusion of the article in a tweet would lead one to believe that the article is at least partly true.
From the Daily Mail:
Patton told DailyMail.com that she had the opportunity to join the White House staff as a special assistant to Trump or as a senior advisor to Carson, and she elected to go to HUD in order to focus on issues she is most concerned about.
She said in a statement Wednesday evening: 'I chose HUD because not only has our President and his Administration made promises to the African-American, Hispanic & Native-American communities during the campaign, but I have too and I know that Dr. Carson has, in kind, and I believe that at HUD, we can make a more immediate and significant impact in bringing those promises to fruition.'
Patton has been working at HUD for several months, including taking part in Carson’s listening tour.
One of the first stops on Carson’s listening tour was in HousingWire’s backyard of Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Patton was alongside Carson throughout that trip.
Patton was part of Carson’s entourage at both of Carson’s DFW stops that HousingWire reporters attended.
HousingWire snapped a pic of Patton (seen standing directly behind Carson) at a public event at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy in West Dallas on March 30.
(Click to enlarge)
Earlier in the day, Patton attended a meeting at the Dallas Housing Authority with Carson, as shown in a tweet embedded into this reporter’s recap of Carson’s visit to the Rangers Youth Academy.
Patton was also in attendance at Carson’s next event in Dallas, the following day in downtown Dallas at Jubilee Park and Community Center Corp.
HousingWire’s Kelsey Ramírez attended that event and snapped the following picture of Patton, standing behind Carson, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
(Click to enlarge)
So to say that Patton has zero housing experience isn’t entirely accurate, but that didn’t stop the story from spreading like wildfire throughout the media.
Here’s Business Insider’s headline: “Trump has tapped his son’s wedding planner to run federal housing programs in New York.” The article does at least note that Patton has been at HUD since January.
Here’s the headline in New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer: “Trump Puts Event Planner in Charge of New York and New Jersey’s Housing Programs.” From the article:
Like HUD secretary Ben Carson, Patton has no experience in housing policy. She does, however, have a lot of experience working for the Trump family.
And here’s The Daily Beast: “Trump Taps Family’s Event Planner for NY, NJ Housing Program.”
On the other hand, the fact that Patton has been at HUD for a few months doesn’t mean that’s she’s now a housing expert, of course. But that didn’t stop the Trump administration from naming a neurosurgeon to run the department.
Of course, it should be noted that Patton is far from a sure thing for the HUD job. In fact, when HousingWire contacted HUD to confirm that Patton had been offered the position, HUD said that no such decision has been made.
A HUD spokesperson told HousingWire that the Region II position remains vacant, adding that “there has been no official nomination, appointment, or announcement” about the position.
So I guess we can save our outrage for when it becomes official. There’s certainly plenty of it to go around these days.