Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Ben Carson caused national snickers when he admitted that his complete lack of government experience made him unqualified for a patronage position in the Trump regime. It turns out that that joke is actually on us.
Today, Dr. Carson accepted Trump’s nomination for the cabinet position of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, a department which oversees a massive home loan insurance program, billions more in commercial housing guarantees, enforcing federal housing discrimination laws (like the ones Donald Trump has violated) and also administer the Section 8 housing assistance program.
Carson made headlines in March by admitting to Newsmax on video that Trump promised him a job in exchange for his endorsement when he dropped out of the Republican primary, outlining a possibly illegal quid pro quo, which he later denied after a complaint was filed with the Justice Department. That debt to Trump has now been repaid.
Ben Carson is best known for making bizarre statements, like his belief that Egypt’s pyramids are actually grain elevators. The brain surgeon has also decried the excess of political experience in Congress by fabricating a lie about America’s founding fathers – who it turns out did have a lot of public service experience before drafting the Declaration of Independence.
“The current Members of Congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience. Are we sure political experience is what we need. Every signer of the Declaration of Independence had no federal elected office experience,” he wrote. “What they had was a deep belief that freedom is a gift from God. They had a determination to rise up against a tyrannical King. They were willing to risk all they had, even their lives, to be free.”
As the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog pointed out to Carson’s campaign, however, several members of the committee that drafted the historic document served in their states’ equivalent legislatures. The claim earned four Pinocchios.
Sadly, this is the kind of patronage-driven administration we can expect from Team Trump, who is in a hurry to fill 40,000 federal government jobs with unqualified people who are loyal to either the Republican party or their real estate developer President-elect.
Democratic Congressman Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) wasted no time in slamming Trump’s choice, comparing Ben Carson’s HUD nomination to the silly “Holiday Inn Express” genius commercials on television:
“Remember the famous commercial where a man is flying a helicopter and reveals he’s not a pilot but he did ‘stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night’? Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to lead HUD reminds me of that commercial,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said in a statement on Monday. “’Do you have any experience running a large federal agency or knowledge of housing and urban development?’ ‘No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.’”
Ben Carson should take this opportunity to bow out of the HUD job before he gets started.
It is the height of idiocy to give a post-fact politician like Carson control of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, since nothing won’t change the fact that he himself admitted he has no experience in a field where each decision can impact the lives of thousands, if not millions of Americans. The fact that Carson, who grew up in public housing, decried fair housing assistance as “Communism” is just the cherry on the hypocrisy cake.
This may be one of the few campaign promises Donald Trump keeps.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition