Donald Trump revealed Monday, Dec. 5, that he plans to nominate former Republican rival Ben Carson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, leaving many confused over Carson’s prior admission that he lacked experience for a Cabinet role.
In a statement released by the Trump transition team, the president-elect beamed over the decision.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said. “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 seemed equally excited about his new role and said he felt honored by the HUD designation, which would see him managing affordable-housing policies.
“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” he said. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”
However, Carson’s manager and close friend Armstrong Williams revealed the 65-year-old, who has never held public office, did not want an official position in the Trump administration.
“Dr. Carson was never offered a specific position, but everything was open to him,” Williams told The Hill in November. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
But that changed two weeks ago on Nov. 22 when the New York Daily News reported Trump offered Carson the HUD position, which he considered over Thanksgiving.
Aside from his lack of experience, Carson has openly condemned the Obama administration’s rule for reporting racist housing practices. In a 2015 opinion piece for the Washington Times, Carson said the government only makes racial equality issues worse since it builds affordable housing in wealthy areas, where few non-white individuals presently reside.
Online, some called out Carson’s confirmation of inexperience.
@TheGorgeousGoon found it humorous.
Didn't Ben Carson just say he doesn't want a cabinet spot because of his lack of experience? Crying
— tyrin (@TheGorgeousGoon) December 5, 2016
@FranceForHillary deemed Carson “Dr. Knowlittle,” a play on the fictional character, Dr. Dolittle.
Nominating Ben Carson to lead HUD is like nominating a real estate agent to perform brain surgeries. ZERO EXPERIENCE! Weak. pic.twitter.com/0Giy1KEH6u
— #NotMyPresident (@France4Hillary) December 5, 2016
Nick Jack Pappas proclaimed he had enough experience to become a tech CEO.
The only experience Dr. Ben Carson has with HUD is that he owns a home, so now I'm applying for CEO of Apple because I own a phone.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) December 5, 2016
Meanwhile, @TerronWatkins disowned Carson from the Black community.
Ben Carson can not be in charge of anything Urban we as the black community do not accept him as a part of us!
— Skittle (@TerronWatkins) December 5, 2016
Still, Newt Gingrich praised the nomination.
Dr Ben Carson is a brilliant man with a great work ethic and a deep desire to help his fellow Americans. an outstanding choice for Trump
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 5, 2016
Additionally, Righteous Crusader questioned how others in the HUD position with prior knowledge of the role have fared better.
To all the ppl complaining about Ben Carson's experience, we've had Secretary's there with the "right experience," how's that been working?
— Righteous Crusader (@Craftmastah) December 5, 2016