As initially reported by DS News, President-elect Donald Trump has been on-record that he favored Dr. Ben Carson as the next HUD Secretary. On Monday, CNN reported that this preference became official with Trump's transition team announcing the appointment.
According to CNN, in the announcement Trump praised Carson, 65, for his intelligence and tenacity, saying, "Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. 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 is a tough competitor and never gives up."
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who became a household name last year when he began a campaign to win the Republican nomination for the presidency, has never served in a government position.
"Dr Carson is an intelligent, impassioned, and empathetic individual," said Tim Rood, Chairman of The Collingwood Group. "Sometimes the very best policy makers are those who listen and sometimes, good leaders who are not steeped in the subject matter are better listeners than those who believe they have all the answers. After a challenging eight years, what HUD and the country really needs now is an opportunity for our public officials to address problems from a fresh and open-minded perspective and listen to the industry."
“Hailing from Detroit, Dr. Carson is all too familiar with the housing issues related to inner-city housing,” said Ed Delgado, Five Star Institute President and CEO. “It is our hope that, as HUD Secretary, he puts forth policies and programs intended to rebuild markets hard hit by the Great Recession."
National Association of Realtors President William E. Brown stated, “Realtors know that the incoming Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has a big job ahead. Potential homebuyers face a range of hurdles, from rising prices to mortgage credit that’s burdened by fees and extra costs. We congratulate Dr. Carson on accepting this important challenge and wish him the very best of luck in meeting the task ahead. While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans. The National Association of Realtors and its 1.2 million members looks forward to working with Dr. Carson to fulfill this important mission.”
National Association of Home Builders Chairman Ed Brady said, “NAHB congratulates Dr. Carson on his nomination as HUD secretary. He is a thoughtful leader who is sure to assemble a professional team of policy experts and be a great spokesperson for housing. Upon his confirmation to the Cabinet post, NAHB looks forward to working with Dr. Carson to promote pro-housing policies that support homeownership, provide rental housing opportunities for low- and middle-income households, and remove regulatory barriers that are needlessly raising housing costs for hard-working American families.”
Carson, who was raised in the inner city of Detroit, told Neil Cavuto on November 22 that the inner cities are in "terrible shape" and need "real attention."
"You know, there have been so many promises made over the last several decades, and nothing has been done," Carson said. "So it certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine. And I'll be thinking and praying about it seriously."
Trump’s initial announcement in November that he was considering Carson to lead HUD came as a surprise to many because Carson reportedly said on November 15 that he does not want to serve in the Trump Administration.
On November 21, however, Carson told Fox News that he would give “very serious consideration” if he were offered a cabinet position in the Trump Administration. He explained his position via Facebook later that same day, saying, “There is no reversal of my position in terms of working with the Trump administration. I have always made it clear that I preferred to work outside of the government as an advisor, but if called upon, I would serve inside of the government. I believe it is important to have voices that are outside of the administration combating media bias and the divisiveness that has infected our country.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2016
In the days following that Fox News interview, Carson dropped a couple of hints that he would play a key role in the new Trump Administration. On November 23, he tweeted, "An announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again." That same day, he announced via Twitter, "We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical & spiritual infrastructure is solid."
While Carson does not have any experience with housing policy or with serving in government, he has previously spoken out about housing policy. In 2015, Carson wrote an editorial for the Washington Times criticizing an Obama Administration triumph, HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which Carson said was “designed to ‘desegregate’ housing by withholding funds from communities that fail to demonstrate their projects ‘affirmatively further’ fair housing.”
Carson pointed out that mandated busing following the landmark Brown v. The Board of Education decision failed to make any progress toward integrating schools, and he does not believe the AFFH will fare any better when it comes to housing.
“These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse,” Carson wrote in the Washington Times. “There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.”
(Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com)