As Dr. Ben Carson arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday for his confirmation hearing, the nation’s leading black LGBT organization issued a rebuke of his nomination to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Dr. Ben Carson’s record does not reflect the credentials to lead this agency,” said Isaiah Wilson, spokesman for the National Black Justice Coalition, in a press release.
Carson, 65, is a retired neurosurgeon who campaigned for the Republican Presidential nomination. On Thursday, he answered questions from Senators as to how he would lead an agency with a $47 billion dollar budget tasked to assist low-income renters and distressed homeowners.
“Safety net programs are important,” Carson told the Senate committee. “I would never advocate abolishing them without having an alternative plan for people to follow.”
Wilson acknowledged Carson’s background to be an inspiring tale, but insisted he is the wrong person for the job.
“His personal story of triumph and perseverance over major odds serves as a beautiful example of hope for all Americans," Wilson said. "However, his background, growing up to be one of the most prolific physicians in the medical field or failed GOP presidential candidacy in 2016, does not give him the experience or skillset to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development."
During his bid for the GOP nomination, Carson caused quite a stir with his views on LGBT people. At Thursday’s hearing, Carson was asked if he would extend protections to LGBT people in housing, to which he replied he would “enforce all the laws of the land” but remained personally opposed to “extra rights” for certain groups.
“Dr. Carson has zero experience working in government or dealing with housing policy in any regard," Wilson said. "In addition, HUD has the responsibility of protecting all Americans from housing discrimination, which is problematic for Dr. Carson as he has been on record describing transgender people as ‘abnormal’ and promoting the idea that states should pass ‘right-to-discriminate-legislation’ that would allow businesses to refuse services to LGBTQ people, which would have devastating impacts on housing opportunities if this type of attitude is placed into policy at HUD."
Additionally, the NBJC objects to Carson being the lone black nominee to lead a cabinet level position.
“On another note, I find it truly sad that out of all the successful and qualified African Americans that could serve in his administration, Dr. Carson is the only Black nominee who Donald Trump has selected to lead a cabinet-level position in the next government of our nation," Wilson said. "Visibility matters and the fact that this incoming administration is one of the least diverse, on top of being one of the most controversial, in our nation’s history is beyond troubling. As Americans, we have a duty to speak truth to power in order to ensure that this country continues to progress to be a ‘more perfect union.’ The nomination of Dr. Ben Carson does not ensure this progression, and NBJC will oppose his nomination to lead HUD and urge the Senate to deny his confirmation."