Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee rushed to the defense of retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson on Monday after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called him a “disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice” for secretary of housing and urban development.
President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Carson as his HUD nominee Monday morning, making him the first black man appointed to Trump’s Cabinet.
Soon afterward, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders attacked Carson as unqualified.
“Our country deserves a HUD Secretary with the relevant experience to protect the rights of homeowners and renters, particularly in low income and minority communities, and to ensure that everyone in our country can have access to safe and affordable housing without facing discrimination or homelessness,” Pelosi said in a statement.
In a response on Twitter, Huckabee pointed to one key qualification he believed Carson has for the position.
A Pelosi spokesman fired back at Huckabee.
“This nomination is universally viewed as bizarre and the nominee is clearly unqualified. Name calling like this is beneath the dignity of even Governor Huckabee,” spokesmen Drew Hammill said.
Although Huckabee took some flak on Twitter for his comment, he also was defended by some who noted that he was using the kind of argument liberals often make.
Referencing a New York Times story that later changed its headline, Huckabee later walked back the claim about Carson having lived in public housing.
As noted in the Detroit Free Press, although Carson lived a rags-to-riches life, it is unclear whether he ever lived in public housing.
Carson has said that he was a good fit for HUD because he grew up “in the inner city.”
“We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities,” Carson has said. “We have to get beyond the promises and start really doing something. The amount of corruption and graft and things, shell games that are played — we need to get rid of all that stuff.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., voiced his support for Carson on Monday.
“I’m confident his lifelong career of selfless service will be a positive addition to the incoming administration,” McConnell said, adding that Carson faced a “challenging task” of reforming HUD to “better serve all Americans.”
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