Tag Archives: Ben Carson

Um, Dr. Secretary, slaves were not ‘immigrants’

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson got off to a rollicking start as head of a major federal agency by comparing slaves to your run-of-the-mill immigrants.

They came here, Dr. Carson told HUD employees, with “dreams for their sons, daughters … ” and others who would come along.

Really, he said that.

I don’t know how to react fully to what Dr. Carson said at his HUD meeting.

I have read over many years, however, about how human beings were “sold” as cargo by slave owners in Africa; they were put on ships and transported across the Atlantic Ocean, where they would be used like, oh, farm animals. They were denied every human right imaginable; indeed, they weren’t even considered to be fully “human.”

They had dreams about a better future? Is that what the new HUD secretary said?

“That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”

I wish my grandparents were alive at this moment to hear these remarks. They, too, had “dreams” about forging a better life in this land of opportunity.

However, all four of them — the parents of my mother and father — came here willingly, of their own volition. They sought a new life and a safe place to rear their children.

I cannot believe that Dr. Carson would suggest — even in the remotest of terms — any kind of equivalence between those who came here as slaves and those who arrived as immigrants.

Trump’s ‘fine-tuned machine’ needs help

I found myself somewhat amazed as I read a story in the Sunday New York Times about Donald J. Trump’s apparent inability to get his administration fully staffed.

The article talked about Trump’s insistence on loyalty. Those who say negative things about The Boss are fired; those who fall into that category are disregarded as potential new hires.

I totally understand the president’s desire to have loyal team members on board. The head of our government is entitled to insist that his lieutenants follow the policies set at the top.

Still, Trump crowed this past week about the “fine-tuned machine” that is his presidential administration. Except that he hasn’t hired a whole lot of assistant secretaries or deputy secretaries to assist his Cabinet picks.

But here is where the amazement kicks in.

Loyalty hasn’t been Trump’s No. 1 requirement in filling at least two Cabinet places.

Can you say “Ben Carson” and “Rick Perry”?

Carson is the housing secretary who ran against Trump in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary. He and Trump clashed openly at times on the campaign trail and on debate stages across the country. I recall Dr. Carson saying some pretty harsh things about the president-to-be as his own campaign went down in flames.

But then there’s former Texas Gov. Perry, another former GOP foe. It was Gov. Perry who called Trump a “cancer on conservatism.” He’s now slated to become secretary of energy.

The Times reports, though, that Trump or his senior advisers are nixing appointments because of what individuals have said about the president. Meanwhile, all these posts remain vacant, their offices are dark and top-level administration officials are being denied the kind of help they need in carrying out Trump administration policies — whatever the hell they are.

I love this passage from the Times story: “It is not just Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson who has no deputy secretary, much less Trump-appointed under secretaries or assistant secretaries. Neither do the heads of the Treasury Department, the Education Department or any of the other cabinet departments. Only three of 15 nominees have been named for deputy secretary positions. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has a deputy only because he kept the one left over from President Barack Obama’s administration.”

This is a “fine-tuned machine”? It needs a healthy dose of WD-40.

Trump team staggers toward starting line

It’s not going well for Team Trump as it prepares to take command of the most powerful, greatest nation on Earth.

Seemingly across the board, Donald Trump’s Cabinet selections are having difficulty squaring their records with what will be expected of them when — or if — they take some highly visible public offices.

Betsy DeVos,  the president-elect’s choice to become education secretary, seemed flummoxed about questions pertaining to basic education policy.

Health and Human Services pick U.S. Rep. Tom Price is facing scrutiny over legislation he pitched that favored a company in which he had just purchased stock.

Ben Carson, the noted brain surgeon who has been nominated to lead the housing department, is having to explain why his spokesman said the good doctor is unqualified for the job.

Andrew Puzder, the labor secretary-designate (pictured with Trump), reportedly is having second thoughts about even taking the job. Oh, and he’s got a messy divorce settlement hanging over him, too.

Scott Pruitt, picked to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, told a Senate committee that his views on whether human beings are responsible for climate change aren’t relevant.

And on and on we go.

It’s not all bad. The Senate Armed Services Committee has recommended confirmation for Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis — after he seemed to contradict Trump’s views about the threat posed by Russia.

I get that sometimes these high-level Cabinet picks go awry. Do you remember when two of President-elect Bill Clinton’s picks for attorney general had to bow out because they had employed illegal immigrants?

But that’s OK. Donald Trump assured us he would pick the “smartest people, the best people” to run the government while he concentrates on making America “great again.”


Dr. Carson’s HUD nomination: most puzzling of all Trump’s picks

Of all the people nominated by Donald J. Trump to join the new president’s administration, the one that continues to puzzle me the most is his pick for secretary of housing and urban development.

Ben Carson ran against Trump and 15 others for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016. He ended up in the campaign-trail ditch right along with the rest of them.

Here are two elements that trouble me greatly.

Trump said some amazingly harsh things about Dr. Carson, a noted pediatric neurosurgeon who retired from his medical practice to become a politician. Carson returned the fire to the eventual GOP nominee. They went at each other with rhetorical brass knuckles.

Second — and this came from Carson’s own mouth — was that he declared himself unqualified to lead a Cabinet agency. His spokesmen said managing a massive federal bureaucracy didn’t fit into his skill set. After the election, Carson in effect took himself out of the Trump administration mix for the most straightforward reason possible: He admitted to being unable to do the job.

But then … ?

Trump picks him to run HUD! The nomination raised eyebrows all across the nation. Didn’t this fellow just say he couldn’t do the job? Didn’t the good doctor admit to being — essentially — unfit to become a Cabinet secretary?

Now he’s going to lead an agency that, among other things, tends to the needs of poor Americans who need government-subsidized public housing.

The brilliant doctor has no knowledge of how to oversee such a massive operation.

Dr. Carson is a brilliant man. I do not intend to disparage his intelligence. But holy cow, man! His learning curve is going to be steep, as in monstrously steep.

Is the doctor up to the task of learning how this agency works? I have to wonder.

Don’t delay confirmation hearings

Senate Democrats want to delay the confirmation hearings for several of Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

Interesting, yes? Sure. Democrats say they need more time to “vet” the nominees, meaning they need more time to find dirt on them.

Do they need that time? I don’t think so.

Trump has had ample opportunity to vet these folks, to learn about possible conflicts of interests or to determine whether they are truly qualified to hold the positions he is seeking for them.

So, let the president-elect submit his nominees to the appropriate Senate committees for the roughing up they can expect to get, particularly from Senate Democrats who are pretty miffed that Trump got elected president over Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Ethics officials are issuing warnings about proceeding without conducting thorough reviews of the nominees. Indeed, some of them are serious eyebrow-raisers.

Rex Tillerson at State is a friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has been accused by the CIA and other intelligence agencies of trying to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Betsy DeVos is an ardent critic of public education, but she’s now being asked to serve as the secretary of (public) education.

Ben Carson once declared himself “not qualified” to run a federal agency, but Trump picked him as secretary of housing and urban development; go figure.

Rick “Oops” Perry, the former Texas governor, once declared his intention to get rid of the energy department. But wait! He’s been picked as the next energy secretary.

Jeff Sessions was rejected for a federal judgeship because of alleged racist remarks he made; he has been asked to become attorney general. Sheesh!

Hey, let’s proceed with these nomination hearings and see what happens next.

More eyes, not all of them, turn to Mitt


Rudy Giuliani won’t be Donald J. Trump’s secretary of state.

The former New York City mayor and current Republican rabble rouser has pulled himself out of the running. It might have been the questions over his foreign-government contacts that persuaded him he might not have been confirmed by the Senate, even with all those fellow Republicans running the place.

So …

Who will get the nod at State?

Mitt Romney might be the frontrunner. Then again, it might be someone else.

I’m kinda pulling for Mitt, although I cannot yet define my reasons why I am.


He once led the Never Trump movement. He made that extraordinary 17-minute blistering of Trump, calling him a “fraud, phony and con man.” He was so tough that Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has lobbied publicly against her boss even considering him for the State job. Imagine that!

Why should Mitt get the job? He’s got street cred among foreign leaders. He’s a reasonable GOP conservative.

It appears he has been served his share of humble pie at that dinner date he had with Trump. The men must have talked about the State job and Mitt must have told Trump that he didn’t really and truly mean all those things he said. “I mean,” he could have said, “emotions were running high and it was, after all, a political speech. Politicians often say things they don’t really and truly mean, you know.”

I’m glad Rudy is out of the State Department picture, or so he says.

This is where I perhaps ought to caution everyone that Dr. Ben Carson — the renowned pediatric brain surgeon and former GOP presidential campaign rival of Trump’s — once declared he wasn’t qualified to run a federal agency.

So what did the president-elect do? He named him as the next housing and urban development secretary.

Let’s all stay tuned, shall we?

Trump trashes Carson, then selects him for HUD post

Take a look at this video.

It’s from a November 2015 campaign rally in Iowa. Donald J. Trump is talking about the man he’s just picked to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson.

I’ll let the video speak for itself.

You are welcome to draw your own conclusions about why the president-elect would choose someone he said has an incurable “pathological disorder” to help run a major federal agency.

Go figure.

Huck weighs in on HUD pick


Mike Huckabee has joined the tweeter in chief in communicating with Americans about public policy.

Here’s a fascinating Twitter message from the one-time presidential candidate/Arkansas governor/Baptist preacher: “Ben Carson is first HUD Sec to have actually lived in gov’t housing. Fancy Nancy Pelosi says he’s not qualified; is she racist or just dumb?”

There you have it. Ben Carson is qualified to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development because he once lived in a public housing project.

Is that what Huck has said?

I am absolutely certain that Gov. Huckabee would expand on Dr. Carson’s alleged qualifications when asked.

However, I cannot get past the statement that Dr. Carson made a week after the election, that he didn’t want to serve in Donald Trump’s Cabinet. A close Carson associate said the doctor — one of the world’s renowned pediatric neurosurgeons — isn’t qualified to run a federal agency.

If Huckabee’s logic holds up, I guess I’m qualified to pilot a jet airliner because I’ve flown several hundred thousand miles on them; I’m also qualified to practice dentistry because I’ve had root canals done on my teeth.

Don’t misread me here. I admire Dr. Carson’s skill as a brain surgeon. He has performed great work on young patients in need of medical miracles.

However, living in a public housing development does not give one the qualifications needed to manage a massive federal agency. Beyond that, he has zero government experience. Of course, neither does the man who has nominated him to become HUD secretary.

I will await with eager anticipation the grilling that Dr. Carson is going to get from the U.S. Senate committee that will recommend whether he gets the job he once said he didn’t want.

Dr. Carson changes his mind; he is ‘qualified’ after all


Was I hearing things a week after the presidential election?

I could swear I heard — and read — something from Dr. Ben Carson and his closest associates in which he declared he didn’t want a job in Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet because, in Carson’s view, he wasn’t qualified to run a federal agency.

That’s not his skill set … supposedly.

Carson opts out of Cabinet post … but why?

Carson ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and was one of 16 pretenders to get crushed by the Trump juggernaut.

So, what precisely is Dr. Carson’s skill? He’s a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. He has performed what amount to medical miracles on children in need of them. His brilliance as an MD is beyond reproach.

Now, though, he’s being tossed into a brand new arena. Trump has nominated him to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I don’t understand this choice.


As The Associated Press reported: “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.” Great! Does the passion qualify him to manage a massive federal agency? Time will reveal that in due course.

If the president-elect were to ask me, I’d say Carson would be a better fit as secretary of health and human services or as surgeon general. Trump seek my advice.

As for his ability to run HUD, I’ll just suggest that managing a massive federal bureaucracy ain’t exactly brain surgery … if you get my drift.

Carson opts out of Cabinet post … but why?


Dr. Ben Carson has decided he doesn’t want to be considered for a spot in Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet.

His reason, as stated by a close associate, is quite stunning.

Carson, remember, ran for the Republican presidential nomination against Trump and 15 others. He dropped out about midway through the process.

He was considered a possible candidate for secretary of health and human services or education.

Carson doesn’t want it, he said.


Then came this: “Carson’s business manager, Armstrong Williams, said Carson has made clear he has no experience in running a federal bureaucracy.

“‘Dr. Carson doesn’t feel like that’s the best way for him to serve the president-elect,’ Williams told Reuters.

“He said Carson would remain a close adviser of Trump and a friend. ‘His life has not prepared him to be a Cabinet secretary,’ Williams said.”

But it prepared him to become president of the United States of America?