At a training last month for hundreds of fair-housing advocates, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson crowed about his suspension of an Obama-era rule mandating that communities fix long-standing patterns of segregation.

The regulation, hailed as one of the most ambitious efforts to fight racial bias in housing in decades, was too burdensome on cities, he said, according to four people present. So was another Obama rule that held lenders and landlords liable for policies that lead to discrimination even if none was intended, he added.

The audience, many of whom had spent years working to make sure marginalized groups get equal access to housing, was stunned. “Tone deaf,” said one attendee.

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