U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump announced that he has selected former Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as his nominee for the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
"Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," Trump said in an announcement posted on his Facebook page this morning. "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities."
"I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need," Carson said in the announcement. "We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met."
As The New York Times notes, Carson does not have prior experience in government, housing policy, or managing an agency like HUD, which has a $47 billion budget. The president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition described the pick as "surprising and concerning," reports The Washington Post. In a statement released shortly after the announcement, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi described Carson as "disturbingly unqualified." During the campaign, Carson also received criticism from Trump himself.