In a bizarre twist, Ben Carson, who ran for president against Donald Trump, is now being considered to run Trump's Department of Housing And Urban Development.
Trump and Carson traded some pretty hefty barbs during their campaigns, and Carson was quick to state that he had no interest in being involved in Trump's administration once the election was over. Trump is apparently putting all of their differences aside, however, and favoring Carson for a place in his administration that could prove completely ruinous for the nation.
Apart from seeming perpetually sleepy and making very strange claims (remember the grain silos debacle?), there is a more sinister reason why Carson would be a terrible candidate for the position.
NOLA reports that Carson's appointment could be devastating to minorities and lower-income Americans. New Orleans was the first city to be examined under President Barack Obama's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to identify segregation and discrimination in housing and make housing more affordable.
Carson wrote in The Washington Times that he believed that Obama's rule was a "dangerous" example of "government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality," which has left many fair housing and civil rights leaders concerned.
Carson even went so far as to call fair housing "what you see in communist countries," showing his lack of awareness about the need for affirmative action to support American communities.
NOLA reported that the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, commented on the appointment, saying, "As brilliant as folks have said that Dr. Carson is from a neurosurgery standpoint, creating fair housing, promoting economic development and having people living in prospering communities is a little different than operating on somebody's brain. I do not know how that translates into being HUD secretary.''
Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law had similar concerns, saying, "I am astounded at the suggestion that Ben Carson would be nominated to serve as HUD secretary. HUD is among the most important federal agencies tasked with ensuring compliance with the Fair Housing Act, and creating affordable and inclusive communities."
Trump seems determined to uproot systems that serve disadvantaged communities with his administrative appointments without any awareness of the issues at hand. For example, Trump has claimed he won't take anti-LGBTQ action but in appointing anti-choice legislators who happen to be homophobic, Trump has inadvertently enabled the suffering and disenfranchisement of many LGBTQ Americans.
Trump has made his approval of Carson resoundingly clear, saying he was "thrilled" at the prospect. Whether Trump's choice of Carson is intentionally designed to destroy resources and support for poor communities and people of color is unclear, but that would be the inevitable consequence. We can only hope that Carson refuses the position before he wreaks havoc with his regressive beliefs.
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