Trump transition team still mum on Carson, Ross

The transition team of President-elect Donald Trump would not confirm reports that two men who live at least part-time in Palm Beach County, Dr. Ben Carson and Wilbur Ross, have been offered cabinet positions.

News reports have indicated that Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, has been offered the position of secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After meeting with Carson on Tuesday, Trump himself tweeted: “I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I’ve gotten to know him well – he’s a greatly talented person who loves people!”

Other reports have indicated Ross, a billionaire businessman who has a home not far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion on Palm Beach, is the president-elect’s choice for secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During a conference call with reporters on Friday, Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said the president-elect has no official news on the selection of either Carson or Ross.

“There has not yet been an announcement with regard to those men,” Miller said. “I would say that, until the president-elect makes an announcement, I would hold off on that.”

Trump is spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Carson endorsed Trump after ending his own bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He has given conflicting signals about his willingness to serve in Trump’s cabinet.

As Trump’s transition team began to announce cabinet nominees, Carson said he would not serve in the cabinet and would seek to help Trump as an outside-of-Washington, D.C. voice of reason.

After meeting with Trump on Tuesday, however, the retired neurosurgeon hinted during an interview on Fox News that he is interested in a role that would allow him to help inner cities.

“You know, our inner cities are in terrible shape, and they definitely need some real attention,” Carson said. “You know, there have been so many promises made over the last several decades, and nothing has been done, so it certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine, and I’ll be thinking and praying about it seriously over the holiday.”

Ross has become known as the “king of bankruptcy” because of his success in buying distressed companies at low costs, restructuring them and selling for large profits. Critics contend those restructurings have harmed some workers and encouraged non-compliance with safety regulations in the name of profits.

If nominated, both Carson, 65, and Ross, who turns 79 on Tuesday, would require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Miller said Trump will not meet with any other potential members of his administration until Monday, when he will meet with eight potential nominees: Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of a real estate investment firm; Paul Atkins, former commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Kathleen White, former chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; Dave Steward, chairman and co-founder of a technology firm; E. Scott Pruitt, attorney general for the state of Oklahoma; David Clarke, sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, and John Allison, founder of an asset management firm.

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