Failed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, a retired anti-choice neurosurgeon, has been chosen by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” said Trump in a Monday statement on the announcement, according to the New York Times. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”
In mid-November, Carson had pulled his name from the running for positions within Trump’s cabinet, citing his complete lack of experience in government. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency,” Armstrong Williams, a spokesperson for Carson, told the Hill that day. “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
The next week, Carson said on Facebook that while he’d prefer to serve outside of the government, he would join the Trump cabinet if called upon.
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“After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” said Carson in another Facebook post a few days later. “We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid.”
When asked what he knew about housing policy and urban development by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto in November, Carson claimed that growing up in Detroit had given him some insight.
“I know that I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, have dealt with a lot of patients from that area, and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities,” said Carson.
Carson wrote an op-ed for the Washington Times in July 2015 wading into housing policy and criticizing HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation, which is meant to combat racial segregation in housing.
“These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse,” wrote Carson. “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.”
During his own run for president, Carson touted his anti-choice views by inexplicably comparing abortion to slavery, as Rewire previously reported. During a Republican town hall hosted by CNN in February, Carson plugged fake clinics commonly known as “crisis pregnancy centers” as part of a solution to poverty.