Donald Trump Picks Ben Carson for HUD Secretary

Trump said Carson shares his "optimism about the future."

ByABC News
December 5, 2016, 7:50 AM

— -- After his initial hesitation to take a position in a Donald Trump administration, Ben Carson has reconsidered and accepted Trump’s offer to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

President-elect Trump announced today he intends to nominate Carson for the cabinet position of HUD secretary, a position that will have to be confirmed by the Senate after Trump is in office.

"We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities," Trump said in a statement released today.

"Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans."

Carson, a former rival of Trump’s for the GOP nomination who now sits on Trump’s transition team as a vice chair, said in a statement he’s “honored to accept” the president-elect’s offer.

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” Carson, 65, said in the statement. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told ABC News nearly a month ago that the only way Carson would accept a cabinet position was if Trump could not find anyone else.

Carson, in an interview with the Washington Post last month, said he’d prefer to “work from the outside and not from the inside.”

"I’ve said that if it came to a point where he absolutely needs me, I’d reconsider. But I don’t think that’s the situation with these positions," Carson told the newspaper. "Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water, quite frankly.”

A retired celebrated neurosurgeon, Carson was once reported to be a contender for secretary of Health and Human Services, a position Tom Price has filled.

When asked about his qualifications for secretary of HUD, Carson, a Detroit native, told Fox News in November, "I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities.”

ABC News' Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.

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