Politics

Why Trump Picking Ben Carson as Housing Secretary Is Raising Eyebrows

Retired surgeon and former GOP presidential candidate, Ben Carson, has just been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). However, Trump's decision to pick Carson for this particular role might raise a few eyebrows.

As secretary of HUD, a position currently held by former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, Carson would oversee programs dedicated to developing, creating and expanding housing opportunities for families. Carson needs approval from the Senate for the position, which will likely be granted considering the Republican majority. Carson would also oversee and allocate a budget of billions.

However, Carson's spokesperson declared on Nov. 15 that Carson would turn down a cabinet position, telling The Hill

"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."

There's a 2015 op-ed authored by Carson where he called HUD's new housing rules "failed socialism":

"Experimenting with Failed Socialism Again," written by Carson for The Washington Times in July 2015 was in response to the Obama administration's then-new rule for HUD, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, a reboot of how to allocate funds for Fair Market Rents, which aimed to crack down on racial segregation in America's biggest cities

Ben Carson

"The new rules, a top demand of civil-rights groups, will require cities and towns all over the country to scrutinize their housing patterns for racial bias and to publicly report, every three to five years, the results" The Washington Post noted in regards to the fair housing policy. "Communities will also have to set goals, which will be tracked over time, for how they will further reduce segregation."

Carson, however, saw this rule as a "social-engineering scheme" in his Washington Times piece he wrote:

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse. There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."

The Detroit native lived in public housing as a child, yet, he once said in a television interview, "poverty is really more of a choice than anything else," the New York Times reports. Michael Nutter, a former Philadelphia mayor, told the New York Times Monday:

"As brilliant as folks have said that Dr. Carson is from a neurosurgery standpoint, creating fair housing, promoting economic development and having people living in prospering communities is a little different than operating on somebody’s brain. I do not know how that translates into being HUD secretary."

Carson posted on his Facebook page on Monday morning, "I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration."