President-elect Donald Trump has formally offered retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson the position of secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
That’s according to a person familiar with the offer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly.
Carson had previously said he was not interested in serving in Trump’s administration.
But his business manager Armstrong Williams says Carson has always maintained he’d be open to considering a senior role in the administration if Trump convinced him there was no one else for the job.
Williams says Carson was especially intrigued by the HUD position after being floated as a potential secretary of education or health and human services.
But Carson, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination, has no experience running a large organization nor does he have any background in housing policy. He has reportedly said in the past that he did not consider himself qualified for a cabinet position, but with this new offer he says he will consider the offer over Thanksgiving.
Our inner cities are in terrible shape,” Carson said in a Fox News interview. “And they definitely need some real attention. There have been so many promises made over the last several decades and nothing has been done, so it certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees affordable housing, fair housing laws, low-income housing assistance and aid for distressed neighborhoods.
In addition to Carson, President-elect Trump has chosen South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman tapped for a top-level administration post during his White House transition so far.
It will be a Cabinet-level position, and Haley has accepted, Trump said in a statement Wednesday. Jason Miller, a transition spokesman, indicated in a telephone briefing with reporters that Trump would be picking another Cabinet member on Wednesday. He said Trump has interviewed more than 60 “qualified people” for administration jobs.
Trump tweeted about Carson Tuesday, saying he was “seriously considering” him for the post and praising him as “a greatly talented person who loves people!”