Editor’s note: On Monday, Nov. 28, sources “close to the appointment” confirmed to HousingWire that Ben Carson will officially accept the role of United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. After Trump floated Ben Carson’s name as a potential nominee for HUD secretary on Twitter on Tuesday, Nov. 22, a report from Reuters confirmed that he had offered Carson the position. A spokesman said that Carson would “consider it over the Thanksgiving holiday.”
A day after two potential names for Donald Trump’s new secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were floated, Trump himself has tweeted out a third possibility: Ben Carson, his former opponent in the Republican Primary.
I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I’ve gotten to know him well–he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 22, 2016
The President-elect made the announcement this afternoon on Twitter, stating his rationale: “I’ve gotten to know him well–he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development “oversees homeownership, low-income housing assistance, fair housing laws, homelessness, aid for distressed neighborhoods, and housing development,” according to its website.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, would be an unorthodox choice given his lack of experience in these areas, but the tweet’s sentiment is in line with the President-elect’s anti-politician platform.
Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams told The Hill last week that: “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
But the doctor has wavered on this message. On Facebook about a day ago, Carson stated: “I have always made it clear that I preferred to work outside of the government as an advisor, but if called upon, I would serve inside of the government.” In an interview with Fox News Report, he mentioned having “very strong opinions” about health care and education, but nothing about housing.
In contrast, Trump’s other potential picks have housing and real estate-related lines on their résumé: Robert Woodson, Sr., is the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington, D.C., while Joseph Forgione is a licensed real estate broker and the founder and principal of JMF Properties Group in Whippany, New Jersey.
Woodson, who was a civil rights activist in the 1960s and the director of the National Urban League’s Administration of Justice in the 1970s, has dedicated his life to improving the management and quality of public housing, crafting welfare reform measures, and reducing neighborhood and school violence.
According to his biography on JMF’s website, Forgione has 20 years of real estate development experience and has been “responsible for the construction of over 2,000 residential units as well as multiple commercial and retail spaces.”
If the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the CFPB, is repealed — as President-elect Donald Trump has vowed — there is also a possibility that HUD may once again, be in charge of administering and enforcing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which regulates how real estate companies may do business with other related companies (such as mortgage lenders).