Donald Trump Nominates Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

In a move that had been teased for the past two weeks, President-elect Donald Trump nominated retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Monday.

"I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development," Trump declared in a statement. "Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities."

Trump added that Carson "shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Perhaps ironically, Carson reportedly turned down the position of Health and Human Services secretary because "he's never run an agency and it's a lot to ask." While he has no government experience, the neurosurgeon grew up in inner-city Detroit and worked hard to achieve in school. He graduated high school with honors as a senior commander in the ROTC program and earned a full scholarship to Yale University, where he graduated in 1973.

Carson and his wife Candy started the Carson Scholars Fund, which has provided more than 7,300 scholarship since 1994. In 2000, the Library of Congress honored him as one of its "Living Legends," and in 2008, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His story represents a quintessential "rags to riches" American success, and it seems Trump is banking on that success to guide housing policy.

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development oversees federal public housing programs, helping to formulate policy on homelessness and housing discrimination. As with all cabinet secretaries, the position must be confirmed by the Senate.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carson teased his appointment to the position, announcing on Facebook that his forthcoming role in the administration would be made clear soon. "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," Carson declared.

In late November, Trump announced he was considering Carson for the position on Twitter.

During the general election campaign, Trump promised to prioritize the restoration of America's inner cities, emphasizing what he described as exceedingly poor conditions. "The violence. The death. The lack of education. No jobs. We're going to work with the African-American community and we're going to solve the problem of the inner city," he declared at an October rally in Toledo, Ohio.

Next Page: What Trump said about Carson just one year ago.