Ben Carson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Thursday to become the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
I suppose there is one saving grace: At least Carson didn’t meet with Russian spies prior to his confirmation.
With absolutely no government experience or any knowledge whatsoever about managing a massive federal agency, the U.S. Senate confirmed Carson largely along party lines, 58-41.
Carson, the first African-American to serve in the Trump administration, was a brilliant neurosurgeon, but his mandate by President Donald Trump to help rebuild America’s inner cities as HUD’s top administrator poses a serious problem.
What does Carson know about managing a budget of nearly $50 million and 8,000 employees? What does he know about mortgage policies and lending laws? What about leadership?
And there is nothing substantive in Carson’s background that suggests he would be an effective advocate for Americans, mostly Black folks, living in inner cities.
Carson doesn’t fully support the notion of government assistance. He says Americans in public housing have become too dependent on government so I question how he will objectively oversee an agency that is all about affordable housing.
An opponent of affirmative action, Carson believes policies designed for racial equality have caused “disintegration of the family unit and the welfare state are enslaving African-Americans and ruining their futures.”
Carson was nominated by Trump as a payback for Carson’s support for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump didn’t pick the best person for the job—he rewarded a man who should have been appointed as Surgeon General because of his extensive medical background.
Consider HUD’s mission: To help provide access to affordable housing for low-income Americans. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
Carson faces major challenges creating affordable housing while strengthening infrastructures in urban centers.
But in an interview with Fox News last year, Carson said growing up poor in Detroit qualifies him to lead HUD.
“I grew up in the inner city,” Carson said, “and have spent a lot of time there and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities, and we have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something.”
“You know, our inner cities are in terrible shape, and they definitely need some real attention,” Carson added.
Last week, Trump and Carson toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
“We’re going to do great things in our African-American communities,” Trump said, standing next to Carson.
“Ben is going to work with me very, very closely,” Trump added. “And HUD has a meaning far beyond housing. If properly done, it’s a meaning that’s as big as anything there is, and Ben will be able to find that true meaning and the true meaning of HUD as its secretary.”
The ‘true meaning’ of HUD?
I don’t know what Trump is talking about (and Carson may not know, either) but I do know that millions of struggling Americans, many of them Black, are depending on affordable housing and starting Monday, their dreams of homeownership will be managed by Carson.
And that’s a precarious situation.
What do you think?