Well, Ben Carson kept on claiming that he could have a cabinet position if he wanted one and apparently he was correct. The one opponent who was probably nicest to Trump throughout the primary (and in the exclusive club of hopefuls who ever led Trump in the polls to take the center lectern at a debate) has been tapped to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development… for some reason.(NBC News)
President-elect Donald Trump will nominate “tough” former Republican primary rival Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the transition team announced Monday.
A statement described Carson as a “distinguished national leader who overcame his troubled youth in the inner city of Detroit to become a renowned neurosurgeon.”
In the statement, Trump said he was “thrilled” to nominate Carson, who dropped out of the campaign race in March after a string of disappointing primary finishes on Super Tuesday.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said.
I get the fact that Trump values loyalty and Carson has filled the bill on that score since the primary ended. There is also no doubt in any serious observer’s mind that Dr. Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon as well as being a man of faith with significant accomplishments in his life. But… HUD? Perhaps I’m too much of political junkie and far too jaded from years of watching this circus, but I’m not going to be able to hear Carson’s name mentioned in the same sentence as anything to do with housing, buildings or structures without thinking of pyramids full of grain.
And while any minor slip-up in a presidential campaign can and will be greatly exaggerated in the media and the monologues of late night comics, let’s be honest here… Ben Carson got a lot of things wrong during his primary run and did himself no favors by frequently doubling down on them. Those spoke to what many could perceive as a rather shallow pool of overall knowledge for a presidential candidate, but we could forgive much of it if they were moving into an area where they were a highly qualified specialist.
With that in mind, why not put Carson in as the Surgeon General? Or better yet, how about Health and Human Services so he could keep an eye on the FDA? I’m pretty sure we could quickly beat down any objections raised by Democrats over either of those appointments. But Housing and Urban Development is a pretty unique niche in the knowledge wall. Admittedly the current office holder came into the job with nothing on his resume from this field either, but I’m not sure Julian Castro is where we want to set the bar. Shaun Donavan had a a Master of Public Administration degree and a Master of Architecture degree, as well has having been a HUD deputy secretary under Clinton. Steve Preston didn’t have a lot of bona fides in this arena, but he at least ran the Small Business Administration. And Alphonso Jackson ran the Dallas Housing Authority before taking over HUD for Bush 43.
The point is that there are jobs and educational paths which prepare someone for the HUD director’s seat. Carson’s resume is impressive, but you have to wonder if he isn’t going to be somewhat out of his depth here. This seems to be a curious pick when there were other positions where Ben Carson’s obvious intellect and talents could be put to better use.