The U.S. House of Representatives confirmed that Ben Carson would be the first African-American member of Donald Trump’s Cabinet. Moreover, the retired neurosurgeon and ex-presidential candidate has been approved as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by the United States Senate for the Trump administration.
Mr. Carson was effectively able to receive the consent of the Upper House by a relatively close margin. He received 58 votes in favor and 41 against after which he was unanimously approved of his new role in Trump’s government. It’s rather surprising to note that even though he came to be considered as one of the strongest rivals of Trump during the Republican race for the presidency until his candidacy suffered a hard setback after the caucus of Iowa, Ben Carson faced relatively less difficulty in obtaining his role as the new Housing Secretary despite his apparent lack of aptitude demonstrated in the Senate confirmation hearing. Since Trump has quite a knack for Twitter, he tweeted saying he “is thrilled to nominate Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.”
During the election campaign, Trump vehemently attacked Ben Carson, telling him that he was a person with “very low energy” and launching harsh criticism against dubious data of his autobiography. However, Carson became one of Trump’s strongest supporters as the campaign progressed and his presidential aspirations faded. While other presidential aspirants engaged in virulent attacks, Carson maintained a poised disposition which made him stand out from the crowded field. Both Carson and Trump, however, agreed on the policies of tax cuts and replacing former President Barack Obama’s heath care law, among other issues.
With no prior experience in housing and city planning, the retired doctor will be the first African-American in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. As the new head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Carson will be handling an annual budget of around $47 billion after having received bipartisan support from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. It didn’t stop there. Ben Carson even managed to gain approval from Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sherrod Brow of Ohio, both Democrats and among the most liberal members present in the panel. However, Senator Warren switched her stance and voted against Mr. Carson on Thursday after she encountered some pressure from certain segments of liberal activists who criticized her Facebook post aimed at defending her support for Carson.
An interesting sequence of events followed in the Senate confirmation hearing. While Mr. Carson regurgitated his arguments based on his earlier speech in a manner that seemed off-the-cuff, Senator Warren was prepared to knock him off-guard with an arduous question posed halfway through the hearing.
“Will you make sure not one dollar of HUD’s budget financially benefits the Trump family?” This is where things got out of hand for Dr. Carson. Senator Elizabeth Warren simply asked for Dr. Carson’s assurance that the HUD budget will not financially benefit either President Donald Trump or his family given that housing development is an area in which President Trump and his family have significant business interests. Dr. Carson failed to objectively respond to Senator Warren’s valid query. The reason for Dr. Carson’s inability to provide a guarantee or an assurance lies in the fact, which Senator Elizabeth Warren also candidly pointed out, that President Trump has kept his business interests from everybody and has failed to put his assets in a true blind trust. Critics contend this presents the core conundrum in which the Trump administration operates and inexorably attempts to blur the new President’s conflicts of interest.
[Featured Image by Michael Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images]