Reuters Article: “After hesitation, Carson accepts Trump’s offer to head U.S. housing department”
By Doina Chiacu and Diane Bartz | WASHINGTON
Politics | Mon Dec 5, 2016 | 5:23pm EST
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a rival-turned-supporter of Donald Trump, overcame his stated qualms about a lack of government experience on Monday to accept the president-elect’s nomination to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Democrats criticized the Republican president-elect’s latest pick for his incoming administration, calling Carson unqualified to take over $48-billion agency that oversees public housing.
Carson, a popular writer and speaker in conservative circles, has been a close adviser to Trump since he dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential primary contest and he is a vice chairman of Trump’s transition team.
Trump discussed the job with Carson before the Thanksgiving Day holiday last month, although – despite his own presidential run – Carson had previously indicated reluctance to take a position in the incoming administration because of his lack of experience in federal government.
Picking up that theme, House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said on Monday, “Dr. Ben Carson is a disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice to lead a department as complex and consequential as Housing and Urban Development.”
Trump, a real estate magnate who also has no government experience and has never held public office, expressed confidence Carson could do the job, saying in a statement that he “has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.”
Carson, 65, is the first African-American picked for a Cabinet spot by Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20 and has been gradually filling out his administration since beating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Carson said he was honored to accept the post, which requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” he said in the statement.
Republicans control the Senate and Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a sometimes strong critic of Trump, praised Carson in a statement, saying “I’m sure he will be an agent of change in a department that could stand some change.”
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Press Release – Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development