President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he is seriously considering Ben Carson to serve as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, despite Carson having previously declined interest in a cabinet post.
“I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD,” Trump said in the tweet. “I’ve gotten to know him well — he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!”
Carson ran against Trump in the Republican presidential primary, but the two became close after Carson dropped out of the race. The former neurosurgeon was one of Trump’s top surrogates during the general election campaign.
However, as Trump began discussions over who he wanted for his cabinet, Carson withdrew from consideration. CNN reported on November 15 that Carson declined an offer from Trump to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services.
“He’s never run an agency and it’s a lot to ask. He’s a neophyte and that’s not his strength,” Carson confidant Armstrong Williams told CNN.
Carson declining a cabinet post because of inexperience is an odd excuse from someone who felt he was qualified to run for president. And given his background as a doctor and world-renowned surgeon, Carson could be more qualified to serve as secretary of HHS than HUD.
But it appears Carson has had a change of heart, telling Fox News on Sunday that he would be open to accepting a cabinet post, although that’s not his preferred role.
“Basically, I’ve said my preference is to be outside and to act as an adviser, but if after going through the process they all conclude it would be much better to have me in the cabinet, I would have to give that very serious consideration,” Carson told Fox News. “It’s just not my preference.”
Trump has continued to use Twitter to direct his own messaging from his potential cabinet picks to his frustration over the cast of Hamilton lecturing Vice President-elect Mike Pence after a weekend performance.
The president-elect also used Twitter to praise another potential cabinet appointee, tweeting Sunday, "General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, who is being considered for Secretary of Defense, was very impressive yesterday. A true General's General!"