President-elect Donald Trump nominated retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Carson has accepted.
Carson was, at one point in the campaign, a top Trump rival for the presidency. Trump sought to discredit his credentials and personal history, but the two men have since mended fences are now seen as close.
Regarding Carson’s cabinet appointment, Trump said in a statement that “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.”
Carson would be the first African-American appointed to a senior position so far by Trump and the second doctor. He was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins until he retired in 2013.
Carson said several weeks ago that he was offered the job to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, but at the time turned it down suggesting he wasn’t qualified or interested in working in a federal position.
Be he later wrote on Facebook that he had a change of heart.
“After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” Mr. Carson stated during the week of Thanksgiving.
“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”
HUD currently has a budget of $47.9 billion and employs about 8,400 people. The federal government currently insures one in every six new home-purchase mortgages made through the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of HUD, and the department oversees funding for some 1.2 million low-income households in public housing units.