After almost a month of rumors pinpointing former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson as one of President-elect Donld Trump’s potential cabinet picks, the retired neurosurgeon was chosen by the latter to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson previously passed on Trump’s initial offer in mid-November, which prompted the New York real estate mogul to tweet about his serious consideration of his former rival for the HUD secretary position. Following Monday’s announcement, however, Carson had agreed to serve as a member of Trump’s cabinet, should Congress approve the appointment.
According to the New York Times, Trump praised Carson’s “brilliant mind” while citing “[his passion for] strengthening communities and families within those communities” in a statement announcing his decision:
“We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”
“Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans,” he added. “He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”
The president-elect’s decision to name Carson as HUD secretary isn’t without controversy, especially since the former candidate has “no experience in government or running a large bureaucracy.” As the NYT notes, the appointment means the inexperienced Carson will head an agency equipped with a $67 billion budget, which oversees the same government programs that he’s previously accused of encouraging “dependency.” As Politico points out, Carson previously penned a 2015 op-ed for the Washington Times to criticize the organization for the “new fair housing rule” that’s nothing more than “a ‘social-engineering’ scheme.”