President-elect Donald Trump has nominated retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Trump’s transition team confirmed the nomination early Monday morning.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including inner cities.”
“He is a tough competitor and never gives up,” Trump added of his former campaign rival.
Trump teased Carson’s nomination last month in a tweet in which he said he was “seriously considering” Carson for the position.
“He’s a greatly talented person who loves people,” the president-elect said then.
Carson also teased the nomination on social media several days earlier, writing on Facebook that he felt he could “make a significant contribution” by “making our inner cities great again for everyone.”
“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration,” Carson, who has never held an elected office, said in a statement Monday. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”
Carson’s enthusiasm about the nomination is a turnaround from earlier in November when he said he was not seeking a Cabinet position. A top Caron aide contended then that Carson “didn’t want anything” that had been offered to him by Trump’s transition team because he lacked government experience.
More recently, however, Carson told Fox News in an interview that he would be prepared to lead HUD due to his upbringing in the “inner city.”
Carson has written multiple op-eds critical of HUD policies under the Obama administration, including a June 2015 piece for the Washington Times in which he slammed HUD policies intended to “desegregate” housing.
Also in June 2015, Carson compared HUD’s policies to communist rule during an interview with Des Moines-based talk radio host Jan Mickleson.