Trump Nominates Opponent for Housing Secretary

Ben CarsonBen Carson

Donald Trump has nominated former opponent Ben Carson as his secretary of housing and urban development.

In a statement from his transition team on Monday, Trump said he was “thrilled to nominate” Carson, saying the retired neurosurgeon had “a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities”, reported the Guardian.

“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.

Carson responded to the announcement with a brief statement accepting Trump’s nomination. 

“I am honored and look forward to working hard on behalf of the American people,” he wrote.

Carson had previously taken himself out of the running to serve in Trump’s Cabinet amid speculation that the former doctor was being considered to head the Department of Health and Human Services. 

A Carson spokesperson said he did not feel he had the experience to run a federal agency and did not want to assume a role “that could cripple the presidency”.

But Carson signaled his thinking had changed in a Facebook post late last month, in which he hinted at a possible position at the federal agency tasked with overseeing America’s fair housing laws and urban development policies.

“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,” Carson wrote in the post on 23 November.

Republicans praised Carson’s personal attributes but were relatively muted in response to Trump’s decision to place an outsider at the helm of one of the nation’s top agencies.

Trump’s decision to tap Carson as the housing and urban development secretary followed his announcement nominating the South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley, as ambassador to the United Nations, and Elaine Chao as transportation secretary. 

Haley, Chao and Carson are the first people of color chosen by Trump to serve in his cabinet.

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