President-elect Donald Trump announced today (December 5) that he is nominating former presidential opponent Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under his administration.
“We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities,” said Trump in a Facebook statement. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met,” Carson said in the same statement.
The retired neurosurgeon has no experience supervising a government agency—a fact that became news last month, when reports emerged that Carson was being considered to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At the time, Carson’s business manager Anthony Williams told The Hill that while Carson never received a specific offer, ”everything was open to him.” Williams added that the former presidential candidate “feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.” Carson countered with a Facebook post, in which when he wrote that his “decision not to seek a cabinet position in the Trump administration has nothing to do with the complexity of the job as is being reported by some news outlets.” He also expressed his intent to support the administration via a private position.
Carson previously criticized President Barack Obama’s 2015 rule to reinforce the Fair Housing Act (FHA) in a Washington Times op-ed. “These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse,” wrote Carson. As HUD leader, Carson would be in charge of enforcing anti-discrimination housing policies like the FHA.
Carson has frequently addressed the poverty of his childhood, including the time he spent living in public housing. Stories of youth violence from his 1996 biography prompted Trump’s ridicule during the Republican primary, with Trump comparing what he saw as Carson’s alleged psychological issues to those of a “child molester.”