[Updated] Ben Carson Accepts Trump Nomination to Serve as HUD Secretary

After weeks of speculation, President-elect Donald J. Trump has officially announced his intent to nominate Dr. Ben Carson to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The nomination arrived nearly two weeks after Trump announced via Twitter that he was “seriously considering” the retired neurosurgeon and former 2016 GOP presidential opponent for the cabinet position of HUD Secretary.

“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement issued Monday by his Transition Team. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”

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Carson, who last month commented through a spokesman that he is unqualified to run a federal agency, grew up in the inner city of Detroit before graduating from Yale University in 1973. He later enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon. At age 33, Dr. Carson served as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A former GOP presidential candidate, Carson has since voiced his support for Trump after suspending his own presidential campaign in March. Over the past few weeks, Carson was undecided on whether or not he would accept Trump’s appointment of HUD Secretary. But with Monday’s announcement, the retired neurosurgeon appeared to accept the new cabinet position.

“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration,” Carson said in a written statement. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

Mortgage industry groups were quick to congratulate the nomination of Carson as they look to further collaborate with HUD under the Trump Administration over the next four years.

“Housing is one of the largest contributors to the health and success of the overall economy, and as such we must continue to recognize its significance,” said David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, in a press release. “MBA looks forward to working with Dr. Carson in helping to build out a well-rounded team of housing experts, with a deep technical understanding of the issues, at HUD, FHA and Ginnie Mae.”

As HUD Secretary, Carson will be responsible for leading a federal agency with a budget of approximately $47 billion and an estimated 8,400 employees.

Carson will also be accountable for overseeing the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which recently reported an economic value of approximately $35 billion for FHA’s forward mortgage business and a value of negative $7.7 billion in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage portfolio in fiscal year 2016.

Despite Carson’s lack of experience, his background in meeting the health care needs of people of all ages provides him with a unique perspective for leading HUD, an agency responsible for strengthening communities and supporting affordable housing, said Peter Bell, president and CEO of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

“Once confirmed, we hope that Dr. Carson will recognize housing as a platform for improving individual health and community quality of life, and seek to bolster the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs,” Bell said in a statement provided to RMD. “These programs help middle class Americans of all ages to purchase property, and enable older homeowners to convert a portion of their home’s equity to sustain their ability to stay in their homes for as long as possible.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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  • What is so important about what he did this in relation to Trump or that? What is and remains important is like any HUD Secretary appointee what will his walking orders be? Followed by how long of a leash is he on? Next comes the question of what his personal positions in areas of discretion actually are. Will he report to VP-elect Mike Pence or Reince Priebus, the announced Chief of Staff?

    As our primary regulator it is important we get over the election and start getting to know our new regulatory leader his to be announced team. It is stupid strategy to simply write off this appointee as a caricature of some Republican waffe.

    Dr. Carson is a great humanitarian with actual credentials of saving human life. He is our first African American HUD Secretary, if consented to by the Senate. How he will fare as the Secretary of a federal government department is yet to be seen. How effective he will be in some part will have to do in some part on how we work with him.

    • The Critic is WRONG, once again. There have been at least four African American HUD Secretaries previously:
      Robert Weaver, the first HUD Secretary when the Department was formed in the 1960s;
      Patricia Harris, during the Carter Administration;
      Samuel Pierce, during the Reagan Administration;
      Alphonso Jackson, during the Bush Administration.
      I point this out because it is important for RMD readers to know that some of the frequent commenters on this site post with “authority,” but really have no idea what they are talking about.

      • Mr. Bell,

        The source was MSNBC. (So it is true you cannot trust left wing propaganda. That will teach me.)

        Looks like Fox is a much better source. Should have listened to Bill and Rush.

        Thanks for correcting my error.

    • What you smokging? If he’s such a humanitarian he should be in health and human services that would fit his experience if anything? Not housing, he said he is not qualified but he ran for president, ilusionions of grandure.

      • mdreversemortgage,

        There is a point where even doctors must retire for the sake of their patients. What a person was yesterday is not what they are necessarily today.

        Dr. Carson will certainly take us in a new direction. Unfortunately that may not bode well for HECMs.

  • Jason,

    Dr. Carson was never “a former GOP presidential nominee.” Senator John McCain (2008) was and Governor Mitt Romney was (2012). They both ran as GOP nominees against President Obama.

    Like Rev. Mike Huckabee, Governor Jeb Bush, and President-Elect Donald J. Trump were all GOP Presidential candidates so was Dr. Carson but only President-Elect Donald J. Trump became the GOP Presidential nominee and eventual President-Elect.

    Dr. Carson was a 2016 GOP Presidential candidate, not the 2016 GOP Presidential nominee.

  • Dr. Carson,

    Congratulations. It will be a privilege to work with you to create a better HECM product. We all look forward to working with you and your FHA Commissioner.

    • So Gary, you know a Janitor who has Carson’s intellect, ability to grasp complex situations and come up with instant solutions and has the proven capabilities of a brain surgeon? Trot him out and let’s get a look at this guy!

    • So Gary, you know a Janitor who has Carson’s intellect, ability to grasp complex situations and come up with instant solutions and has the proven capabilities of a brain surgeon? Trot him out and let’s get a look at this guy!

    • Gary,

      The way the Department goes through Secretaries and FHA Commissioners, you should send the name of that janitor to Trump so that he can appoint that janitor as a replacement in case of resignations in the future.

      It is not hard to believe you know a janitor but you do not know the least thing about Dr. Carson.

  • Sure, right now, there will be criticism of Trump appointments, solely based on whether the response is from someone who voted against Trump. Other criticism may be based on a sincere concern of whether Dr. Carson is capable enough to carry-out a Trump HUD-policy.

    I think it is safe to say that Dr. Carson is probably at least as intelligent as any other politically-based (as opposed to a housing industry, career-based appointment) appointee who has come before.

    To predict the direction of HUD under a Trump administration, I’d look to the staff appointments, those “industry experienced” people working directly under Dr Carson at HUD.

    As far as overall policy from the President, I haven’t heard anything at all with regard to HUD, specifically.

    However, Trump most definitely is favorable toward cutting unnecessary regulations in general (which would include those of the “politically motivated” variety); especially removing “red-tape” and the blizzards of paperwork that plague the government and all who do business in kind, throughout the private sector.

    So, if you can think of all the aspects of HUD performance that may improve under the political attitude, above, you may come up with a list that gives a reason to be optimistic.

    Maybe you could post some of the things that occur to you.

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