Trump Picks Ben Carson to Lead US Housing Department

  • Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump
    Dr. Ben Carson and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump | Photo: Reuters
Like Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has no experience in government.

U.S president-elect Donald Trump tapped retired neurosurgeon and former Republican rival Ben Carson Monday to serve as his head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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“Dr. Carson is a distinguished national leader who overcame his troubled youth in the inner city of Detroit to become a renowned neurosurgeon who served as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland,” said Trump’s transition team in a statement announcing Carson’s nomination.

Carson, who, like Trump, garnered criticism during the Republican primary for his lack of government experience as someone who has never held a position in public office, accepted Trump’s appointment.

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” Carson said.

In the weeks leading up to the appointment, Carson wrote on his Facebook page that if he were selected as the chief of Housing and Urban Development, he would work toward making “inner cities great for everyone.” But he also recently said he would not take on a position in Trump’s administration due to his lack of experience in government.

Trump praised his former rival-turned-supporter, welcoming him to a growing team that has sparked controversy for being stacked with wealthy corporate elites and anti-immigrant reactionaries.

“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” said Trump in Monday’s statement.

The largest Muslim civil rights in the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, on the other hand, raised concern over how Carson’s past shows of Islamophobia may affect Muslim employees in his department as well as Muslim people seeking support from the federal agency.

“Dr. Carson’s views on Islam, American Muslims and the world are dangerously ill-informed and could negatively impact any government agency he heads,” CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement Monday.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development that Carson will head is a federal agency focused on helping middle- and low-income people find homes while working to use housing to boost quality of life and the well-being of communities. It is also charged with strengthening the housing market and overseeing mortgage lending, among other programs.

Donald Trump’s cabinet is one of the wealthiest in modern U.S. history.

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