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Ben Carson Is Named Secretary of Housing & Development Despite Having No Housing Experience

Dr. Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate, has been nominated by President-Elect Donald Trump to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson has no previous experience working in housing or urban development. He also has no experience working in government.

“I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Trump is said in a statement released Monday. “Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.”

Carson ran against Trump in the primaries to be the Republican nominee for president but dropped out of the race in March. Carson has never held a political office and recently said he did not want a Cabinet position, saying he would be “like a fish out of water,” The Washington Post reports. His business manager, Armstrong Williams, told Circa that Carson’s “background didn’t prepare him to run a federal agency.” Guess he’s changed his mind about that.

“With many qualified Republicans to choose from with deep knowledge of, and commitment to, affordable housing solutions for the poorest families, and with the housing crisis reaching new heights across the country, Dr. Carson’s nomination to serve as HUD Secretary is surprising and concerning,” Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said in a statement.

Carson has previously revealed that he doesn’t agree with some of the anti-segregation policies supported by minority groups like the NAACP. According to the Post, he even criticized Obama’s administration for efforts to improve racial integration in housing. He once said that “poverty is really more of a choice than anything else.” A large part of being HUD secretary is making sure poor and low-income people have safe, affordable places to live.

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, claimed on Twitter that Carson would be the first HUD secretary “to have actually lived in [government] housing.” Even The New York Times ran with that—but it turns out it’s not true. According to New York Magazine, Carson has talked many times about growing up in poverty, but he never lived in public housing.

Trump’s pick of Carson comes after his decision to name South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who has no foreign policy experience, as ambassador to the United Nations.

Sarah Nelson is senior at the University of Iowa pursuing a Journalism major, English minor, and Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication Certificate. When she's not binge-watching One Tree Hill or Jane the Virgin on Netflix (again), she's is probably rereading the Harry Potter series or writing for her blog, SarahNdipity. With an addiction to books and coffee, Sarah hopes to take the world by storm as a book editor. Or social media marketer. Or blogger. (She hasn't quite made up her mind yet, but that's okay because who says you have to be just one thing?)
Katherine Mirani is the News Editor for Her Campus. She graduated from Northwestern University's journalism school in 2015. Before joining Her Campus full time, she worked on investigative stories for Medill Watchdog and the Scripps News Washington Bureau. When not obsessing over journalism, Katherine enjoys pasta, ridiculous action movies, #longreads, and her cockatiel, Oreo.