Last week, as we all waited for Ben Carson to accept Donald Trump’s initiation to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, reactions poured in from all sides about whether HUD Secretary Ben Carson is a good idea or not.
Well, now that’s officially official, with an announcement coming Monday that Carson accepted Trump’s offer, reactions are no longer based on hypotheticals about Carson as a potential choice.
Carson is Trump’s choice to run HUD.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence took to Twitter on Monday to celebrate Carson’s nomination, saying that the retired neurosurgeon will help “strengthen communities” while at HUD.
Nomination of my friend @RealBenCarson for HUD Sec. will help strengthen communities and lead to an economic revival in our inner cities.— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) December 5, 2016
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., tweeted about Carson as well, calling him a “great choice for HUD.”
And former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called Carson an “outstanding choice.”
Dr Ben Carson is a brilliant man with a great work ethic and a deep desire to help his fellow Americans. an outstanding choice for Trump— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 5, 2016
While some Republicans feel that Carson is a good choice, much of the media reaction to Carson’s nomination focuses on his lack of experience in housing and urban development and the impact that will have.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos and Damian Paletta have a good recap of what HUD means for the country and what Carson is walking into on his first day.
From the article:
HUD, with a budget of $47.9 billion and some 8,400 employees, has played critical roles stabilizing the housing market after last decade’s boom and bust. The federal government currently insures one in every six new home-purchase mortgages made through the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of HUD. The department also oversees funding for some 1.2 million low-income households in public-housing units managed by some 3,300 local housing agencies.
Much of the reaction to Carson as HUD secretary tends to point out (as the WSJ does) an op-ed authored by Carson in The Washington Times in 2015.
From the WSJ:
Critics say the rules undercut local control by making it too easy to advance lawsuits questioning zoning decisions. The GOP platform approved earlier this year said the rules went beyond the government’s “legitimate role in enforcing nondiscrimination laws.”
Mr. Carson echoed the party’s stance when he called those policies “mandated social-engineering schemes” that repeated a pattern of “failed socialist experiments in this country” in a 2015 op-ed published in The Washington Times.
In the New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg recaps some of why Carson’s “critics” are concerned about his nomination.
One of the critics not cited in Stolberg’s article is the Washington Post Editorial Board, which calls Carson’s selection as HUD secretary “beyond baffling.”
From an op-ed authored by the Washington Post Editorial Board:
It was less than a month ago that a spokesman for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson told reporters that the erstwhile GOP presidential candidate would not be serving the Trump administration in anything but an unofficial advisory capacity. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience,” Armstrong Williams said, “he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.” On that basis alone, President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement Monday that Mr. Carson would be his choice to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development was baffling. Add the fact that Mr. Carson has no relevant expertise whatsoever (secretary of health and human services, the previous job for which the highly accomplished physician was mentioned, might have been a different story) and Mr. Trump’s pick goes well beyond baffling.
Also writing for the Washington Post, Thomas Sugrue, a professor of social and cultural analysis and history at New York University, suggests that Carson will have a negative impact on the cities he’s tasked to save.
From Sugrue’s post:
We don’t know much yet about how Carson will run HUD, but his lack of experience with urban policy, his bromides about socialist planning, his indifference to fair housing and his calls for individual bootstrapping don’t bode well for the future of metropolitan America. And in a climate of privatization and deregulation, championed by the country’s new real estate developer in chief, Carson’s inexperience could be a serious liability.
Justin Hollander, an associate professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University, has a different reaction, offering up some suggestions for Carson’s time at HUD.
Hollander, writing for Cleveland.com, suggests that Carson can produce positive results at HUD by following three steps: define the 'inner city' and its problem well; to "fix" the inner cities, focus on quality-of-life issues not economic development; and implement plans through community-based processes.
From Hollander’s piece:
Presidential transitions can be a time of worry and concern as the old ways of doing things are swept aside in place of the unknown. Trump's election-night victory speech included the platitudes of bringing everyone together and making America great, but had only a few explicit policy promises. His deliberate choice to promise to fix inner cities offers hope for effecting real change, with the guidance offered above that change can be for the benefit of the neediest of urban residents.
And for a look at how the housing industry reacted to Carson’s selection, click here for a roundup from our Kelsey Ramírez.