Image Credits: David J. Phillip, AP

In a Monday, December 5th statement, President-elect Donald Trump announced his appointment of former presidential candidate Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Trump praised Carson, a former rival who was an early defector of the establishment towards Trump, “Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said Monday morning in a statement. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans.”

In his own statement, Carson said, “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.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan praised Carson’s appointment, saying the former surgeon was a “shining example of overcoming poverty” and will put the focus on “dignity rather than dependence.”

Here are 21 things to know about Ben Carson, who will take over the Department of Housing and Urban Development from Julian Castro, Obama’s appointee to the position.

  1. He’s a 1973 graduate of Yale University where he was in Davenport College

  2. He majored in psychology during his undergraduate studies.

  3. Carson is the fourth Yale graduate to join Trump’s transition team this far, joining Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Steven Mnuchin (Treasury), and Stephen Schwarzman (Chair of Strategic and Policy Form.)

  4. Carson has no direct “housing” experience, but neither have most people holding the HUD Secretary position in recent years.

  5. Carson’s family was supported by food stamps and government assistance during his formative years

  6. Carson was born to a young, uneducated mother in inner-city Detroit in 1951.

  7. He is the author of numerous books, including Gifted Hangs: The Ben Carson Story, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential For Excellence, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save American’s Future, and A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

  8. Carson and his wife, Candy, met while students at Yale University and married in 1975.  

  9. Carson is a world-renown and widely respected neurosurgeon who performed the first successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head.

  10. His MD is from the University of Michigan Medical School, which he graduated from in 1977.

  11. Before politics, he was the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, a role he took on at age 33.

  12. Ben Carson officially retired from surgery in July of 2013.

  13. Carson was pushed into the national speech after his speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast which was very critical of President Obama

  14. HUD has an annual budget of nearly $50 billion that Carson will be overseeing.

  15. Carson was a member of the JROTC in high school

  16. Back in 2002, he underwent surgery for prostate cancer and he has since stated that his scans have been clean since.

  17. Carson announced his bid to be the 45th president on May 4th, 2015, and withdrew on March 2nd, 2016.

  18. According to Open Secrets, Ben Caron’s campaign raised over $80 million.  

  19. Carson is a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church

  20. He is also a lacto-ovo vegetarian, for health reasons, he claims.

  21. Nancy Pelosi called Carson “unqualified” for the appointment, which many refute, and one Fox News columnist responded to beautifully.

To learn more about Ben Carson, check out Biography.com, Johns Hopkins University, NPR, and CNN.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member