Donald Trump Taps Ben Carson as Housing Secretary

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Dr. Ben Carson

Trump says he's "thrilled to nominate" Carson, saying he "has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities."

Donald Trump has chosen former Campaign 2016 rival Ben Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Trump's decision, announced early Monday by his transition office, comes as the real estate mogul continues a series of interviews, meetings with aides and other deliberations aimed at forming his administration.

In a statement, Trump says he's "thrilled to nominate" Carson, saying he "has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities."

Carson has been coy about joining the new administration, saying shortly after Trump's election victory that he wasn't certain he'd fit into a Cabinet-style role. The discussion at that time centered on speculation that Carson might be selected to head the sprawling Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump's statement Monday says, "Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans."

The president-elect also shared the announcement on social media Monday morning.

Shortly after the announcement, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Trump's pick, calling Carson a "disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice."

"Our country deserves a HUD Secretary with the relevant experience to protect the rights of homeowners and renters," the newly reelected Minority Leader said in the statement, "particularly in low income and minority communities, and to ensure that everyone in our country can have access to safe and affordable housing without facing discrimination or homelessness."

The statement continued, "There is no evidence that Dr. Ben Carson brings the necessary credentials to hold a postilion with such immense responsibilities and impact on families and communities across America."

Carson said he was "honored to accept the opportunity."

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