Secretary Ben Carson. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been in hot water in recent weeks over reports that he ordered a $31,000 dining set for his office using taxpayer dollars. His latest explanation, on Tuesday: "I left it to my wife."

The bigger picture: Carson joins other cabinet officials who have been scrutinized for seemingly lavish spending. From a cost standpoint, his case is far from the most eye-popping — but it includes some particularly interesting twists and turns.

February 27: The NYT breaks the news of the purchase. HUD spokesman Raffi Williams tells the Times that Carson "didn’t know the table had been purchased," but doesn't plan to return it and doesn't believe it cost too much.

February 28: CNN reports that Trump is "furious" about the story.

March 1: Carson's business manager, Armstrong Williams, tells the NYT that Carson has requested the purchase be cancelled. Carson also says in a statement that no one "was more surprised than me" about the purchase.

March 14: Emails dug up by CNN reveal that Carson and his wife knew about the purchase, and selected the table themselves.

March 16: Chief of staff John Kelly says that the purchase is justifiable because it could last up to 100 years.

March 20: Carson says the table was his wife's choice, as he isn't "big into redecorating," per the NYT: “I left it to my wife, you know, to choose something. I dismissed myself from the issues.”

Go deeper

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Trump and Biden during the final debate. Photo: Xinhua/Liu Jie via Getty Images

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.