WASHINGTON — Yesterday, Donald J. Trump, the man who made some of his billions by building casinos where they were never needed, as well as developing pricey resorts and luxury housing, all the while bullying anyone who got in his way, picked retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to be his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. If confirmed, Carson, who has no experience in government whatsoever, will oversee the federal agency of 8,000 employees which is supposed to fight urban blight and provide rental assistance to low income individuals. HUD also helps homeowners battle foreclosures.
As a neurosurgeon, Carson performed the first and only successful separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head.
During the GOP presidential primary debates, Carson distinguished himself primarily by looking as though he was falling asleep while speaking.
In yesterday’s Politico, Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim reported on Trump’s pick of Carson in their article, “Carson’s nonexistent governing experience? Not a problem.” As they indicate, Republican senators, most of whom are rock solid conservatives opposed to federal programs designed to help the poor with government assistance, are happy about the appointment, and as the New York Times reported in Michael Shear’s article, the selection of Carson signals a direct repudiation of policies followed by the current HUD Secretary, Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, whom many in the political world (including your solitary reporter) predicted would be Hillary’s running mate.
Mitch McConnell will still control the Senate in January and, under a rules change made in 2013, only a simple majority is needed to confirm a Cabinet nominee.
So we asked associate solitary reporter Jeanne Smith, who covers Congress for us, to follow Carson around as he visits Republican senators who sit on the Senate Banking Committee, which will consider his nomination.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is Alabama’s senior senator, Richard Shelby.
“Senator Shelby, Sir,” Carson said, as he entered Shelby’s office, hat in hand.
“Boy, what you want?”
“Sir, Mr. Trump said I should come and talk with you, Sir.”
“Oh, somebody at Trump Tower said somethin' 'bout that, but Ah didn’t pay it no nevermind.”
“But, 'long as you’re here, boy, let’s have a chat, but first get me a bourbon and soda.”
“Senator, Sir, when I was a neurosurgeon, I separated Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. And here is my plan for public housing in the United States: I’m gonna separate those lowlife people who live on welfare in public housing, from their public housing.”
“Boy, Ah like what Ah’m hearin' you say.”
Suddenly, the ranking member of the Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), burst in, having overheard their conversation.
“Dr. Carson,” Brown said, “so you’re going to kick all the residents of public housing out of public housing? What’s going to happen to them?”
“No problem, Senator, Mr. Trump and I will round them all up, with the help of Attorney General Sessions, and we're going to throw them over Mr. Trump’s Wall into Mexico.”
Smith then asked Carson whether he thinks he will learn anything from his soon-to-be predecessor, Julián Castro. Carson’s response was quick and to the point: “I have nothing to do with the Castro Brothers in Cuba."