EDITORIAL: Trump’s cabinet adds another mistake
Future Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is unprepared
It seems as though the nation waits with bated breath every time that President-elect Donald J. Trump prepares to make a bid for a member of his cabinet. But after Trump announced his choice of Ben Carson as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the nation might not be able to release its collective sigh of relief.
If the United States was worried about having a man with no political or military experience as the commander-in-chief of a nation, finding out that yet another inexperienced person is being appointed as secretary of one of his executive departments might be anxiety-inducing.
Carson, who is a renowned neurosurgeon, has recently been in the spotlight as the man who originally turned down Trump’s cabinet proposal because he did not feel experienced enough to do so, and yet earlier on had run for president himself. For a man to have blatantly stated that he does not feel as though he has any government experience (because he doesn’t) to be chosen to lead an agency with a $47 million budget is understandably unnerving. What has happened between then and now that has this neurosurgeon suddenly feel as though he has gained enough governmental expertise to lead an executive department?
Carson feels that it is not his government experience (or lack of) but his upbringing that prepares him for this position. Carson’s position as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development would entail him to seeing that impoverished and low-income families have the ability to obtain safe housing. It would be logical to assume that because of Carson’s childhood being defined by poverty in an inner-city, he would be able to at least empathize with those he would be assisting. But many have learned that in this presidency, you have to ignore the logical and instead look at the true reality of things. Rather than using his past poverty as means of connecting with those who are poverty-stricken, Carson is known to have said things such as that poverty is “really more of a choice more than anything else.” Instead of being a sympathizer, Carson’s own success story has lead him to believe a narrative that those living in poverty can work hard to come out of it. In fact, Carson has been known to have expressed hostility towards government programs put in place to end poverty. So how is a man who champions “individualism” and openly opposes government assistance to the poor, supposed to head a department that does just that?
It’s not just Carson’s appointment to this department that causes concern, but the mere fact that Trump even has any involvement in this choice at all. In this position, Carson would have to oversee the Fair Housing Act. This act, that ensures that no one can be discriminated against by a landlord or renter while buying or renting a house, seems to be a conflict of interest for Trump, who has been criticized in the past for his and his father’s discrimination of black people. While renting out apartments in New York, a former worker testified that the father-son duo had asked employees to mark black renters’ applications with a “C” for “colored” so that their applications would be denied. The Trump family had settled, but without an admission of guilt. But this potential bias still lingers.
Although Trump’s decision to appoint Carson as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is a worrisome one, it happens to be one of his less egregious decisions up to date. In fact, his decisions for other members of his cabinet, including Betsy Devos for secretary of education, are far more troublesome. But still, the fact that Trump choosing an experienced person to head an executive department can be considered one of his lesser indiscretions, is a problem in itself.
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