During the presidential primaries, Dr. Ben Carson was one of Donald Trump’s opponents and often seemed at odds with Trump on some of his issues.
Carson rankled many feathers and was called by racist names by the mainstream media. Democrats could not understand why a black man would be running as a Republican conservative when most blacks were Democrats. Some in the media referred to Carson as an Uncle Tom which has strong racial undertones that they would not find acceptable if used by a conservative to refer to one of their own.
Carson came from a troubled and difficult background. His father, Robert, was a minister and worker in a Cadillac factory in Detroit. At the time his parents married, his father was 28 and his mother, Sonya, was only 13. She later found out that Robert had a second family and he later abandoned Sonya when Ben Carson was only 8-years-old. His mother worked two to three jobs to make ends meet and raise her two sons, Ben and Curtis. The boys grew up poor and often relied on food stamps and whatever government assistance they could get. During this time, Carson grew up in public housing in Detroit.
Carson eventually made it to medical school and finished his residency at John’s Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He went on to become one of the world’s foremost neurosurgeons. He is a great example of the rags to riches story as he grew up poor and still made something of himself through hard work and lots of education.
In 1987, Carson led a team of doctors that separated twin boys who were joined at the back of the head. While the surgery was hailed as a success, several years later, the mother questioned having the surgery performed since neither of the boys ever talked or were able to care for themselves and ended up as institutionalized wards of the state.
President-elect Donald Trump has now nominated Dr. Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. At first, I thought this might be a mistake and figured that Carson would make a better Surgeon General of the United States. However, learning of Carson’s background and his growing up poor in public housing in a place like Detroit, makes sense of Trump’s choice.
It’s no surprise that liberal politicians and media are also asking if Trump made a mistake in his selection of Carson for the HUD leadership position. The New York Times quickly jumped on the bandwagon, questioning the wisdom of Trump’s decision, writing:
“Big-city mayors and housing experts are nervous about the idea of a billionaire real estate developer in the White House. Now President-elect Donald J. Trump has picked Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon with no housing experience, as his nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development — and high anxiety has set in.”
“As The Times’s Mid-Atlantic bureau chief, I have spent a lot of time in Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia, which are all run by Democrats. In those cities, and many others across the country, housing concerns are deeply intertwined with other poverty-related issues, including racial tensions with the police.”
The Washington Post pointed out that Carson has not always sided with Barack Obama’s views or those of some black organizations on public housing, writing:
“A review of some of Carson’s political commentary on housing policy reveals his views to be at odds with some of the anti-segregation policies championed by minority groups, including the NAACP. On at least one occasion, he criticized efforts by the Obama administration to use its regulatory powers to improve racial integration in housing.”
What they seem to overlook is Carson’s background of growing up poor and living in public housing in probably one of the worst areas of the nation. He has firsthand experience that no politician could have, no matter what their expertise is. Others may have studied and tried to help run HUD-related programs, but until you’ve lived it, you really have no idea.
To answer the question of whether president-elect Donald Trump made a mistake in appointing Dr. Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, I don’t think he did. I believe with his background and unwillingness to just go with the flow, that Dr. Carson will make a good Secretary of HUD and will work to help those in need, like those in public housing, instead of keeping them trapped in it like Obama and others have done.