Palm Beach Gardens man Ben Carson hints he’ll be Donald Trump’s HUD secretary

Ben Carson and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in March (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)
Ben Carson and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in March (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)

Retired neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson of Palm Beach Gardens is hinting that he’ll be President-elect Donald Trump‘s pick to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

“After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone,” Carson posted on his Facebook page today.

 

“We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid. An announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again,” Carson wrote.

 

Trump’s team told reporters this morning that another Cabinet pick could be announced this afternoon. Shortly after Carson’s Facebook post, the Trump team announced the selection of Betsy DeVos for secretary of Education.

 

Carson, who moved to West Palm Beach in 2013 and then to Palm Beach Gardens this year, appeared to rule out serving in Trump’s administration last week. But after meeting with Trump in New York on Tuesday, Trump 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!”

 

Carson ally Armstrong Williams on Tuesday told The Palm Beach Post that Carson was “seriously considering” the HUD job.

 

 

 

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Trump team defends selection of Sessions as attorney general

The transition of team of President-elect Donald Trump defended his selection of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama for the position of attorney general.

In 1986, the Senate denied Sessions confirmation for a federal judgeship after several of his colleagues accused him of making racist comments.

But in a conference call with reporters Friday morning, transition spokesmen praised Sessions as “someone who is respected across party lines in the U.S. Senate.”

The transition team also noted that Sessions voted in favor of the confirmation of the nation’s first black attorney general, Eric Holder, and that he favored a congressional gold medal for civil rights icon Rosa Parks.

Those plaudits are unlikely to ease the fears of some who see in Trump and his staffing selections a nod to racism, xenophobia and Islamaphobia.

Trump’s selection for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, has made several controversial comments broadly seen as Islamaphobic, including this tweet: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL Please forward this to others: the truth fears no consequences.”

The president-elect will meet with more people under consideration for administration jobs today and through the weekend, transition spokesmen said.

Two prominent Floridians, Gov. Rick Scott and Dr. Ben Carson of West Palm Beach, the retired neurosurgeon who endorsed Trump after his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination, have said they will not serve in Trump’s cabinet.

In addition to the selection of Sessions and Flynn, Trump’s transition team announced that he has chosen U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Kansas Republican who was a sharp critic of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sessions and Pompeo will need Senate confirmation; Flynn will not.

FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2016 file photo, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. listens at left as then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a national security meeting with advisers at Trump Tower in New York. As one of President-elect Donald Trump’s closest and most consistent allies, Sessions is a likely pick for a top post in his administration. But the last time Sessions faced Senate confirmation it didn’t go well. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. listens at left as then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a national security meeting with advisers at Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

 

Adam Putnam on Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Hillary Clinton, 2018 governor’s race

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam chats with Florida Republican convention delegates at a breakfast this morning.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam chats with Florida Republican convention delegates at a breakfast this morning.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who will shock the political world if he doesn’t run for governor in 2018, didn’t have much to say about Donald Trump but praised running mate Mike Pence and blasted Hillary Clinton in a chat with reporters this morning.

 

Putnam’s Florida Grown political committee, which has about $3.7 million in the bank for a potential gubernatorial bid, sponsored a breakfast for Florida Republican National Convention delegates that featured Ben Carson, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and former U.S. Rep. Allen West.

 

“When you decide to run for governor, I’ll be right there with you,” West told Putnam.

 

Putnam was coy about his political plans.

 

“We’re having a wonderful time as commissioner of agriculture and focused on one election at a time. So we’ll be evaluating everything after the November election,” Putnam told reporters.

 

Putnam endorsed Jeb Bush‘s presidential bid. Trump, he said, “wasn’t my first or second choice, but he won fair and square.”

 

Said Putnam: “I’m voting for Donald Trump…This is a choice. Ballots aren’t open-ended questions. This is a choice so I think it’s important for us to recognize that.”

 

When Trump delivers his acceptance speech Thursday, Putnam said, “I hope to hear from Donald Trump a vision for how he can bring America together and keep America safe. This is an anxious time that we’re living in…The anxiety that is hovering over the electorate is powerful and people are looking for a leader who can relieve that anxiety by defeating these threats to America.”

 

Putnam called Pence an “outstanding” choice for vice president.

 

Asked to compare Pence to Trump, Putnam said: “He’d be about 180 degrees different. Mike Pence is a level, steady, consistent guy who is a well-read, conservative rooted in sort of the founding philosophical documents of conservatism. While he is a former Democrat, he was a Democrat at one point in his life, it was studying Ronald Reagan and studying the premises of conservatism that brought him into our party.”

 

Putnam cited Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state as a reason not to vote for her.

 

“I’m just very, very concerned about an individual who’s been in the public eye as long as Hillary Clinton has willfully, wantonly setting up a server  in her spare bathroom to circumvent not only the press but the public and the kind of recklessness  in her behavior that that reveals.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Carson: Being transgender is ‘the height of absurdity’

West Palm Beach resident Ben Carson speaks to the media outside the Florida Republican delegation breakfast hosted by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. (Kristina Webb/The Palm Beach Post)
West Palm Beach resident Ben Carson speaks to the media outside the Florida Republican delegation breakfast hosted by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. (Kristina Webb/The Palm Beach Post)

In a speech to Florida’s Republican delegation Tuesday morning, West Palm Beach resident and former presidential candidate Ben Carson said the idea of someone being transgender is “the height of absurdity.”

He added, “For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is.”

RELATED: Florida Republicans weigh in on Melania Trump speech flap

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, author and conservative commentator, made his comments as the GOP prepared to officially nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate during the Republican National Convention this week.

This isn’t Carson’s first time weighing in on the issue. In November, while still a presidential candidate, Carson suggested there should be bathrooms specifically for transgender people, and that transgender people “make everyone else uncomfortable” in a bathroom.

At Florida delegation breakfast, Melania Trump speech flap called ‘much ado about nothing’

Ben Carson talks to reporters outside a Florida delegation breakfast this morning.
Ben Carson talks to reporters outside a Florida delegation breakfast this morning.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Florida Republicans this morning downplayed the controversy over similarities between passages in Melania Trump‘s Monday night GOP convention speech and Michelle Obama‘s 2008 Democratic convention speech.

 

Melania Trump after a Republican debate in Miami in March.
Melania Trump after a Republican debate in Miami in March.

“If Melania’s speech is similar to Michelle Obama’s speech, that should make us all very happy because we should be saying that whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we share the same values. That’s what we should be talking about, not trying to make it into a controversy,” said Ben Carson, the West Palm Beach resident who endorsed Trump in March after his own presidential bid ended.

 

“I don’t think that they were plagiarized,” Carson told reporters after speaking to a Florida delegation breakfast outside Cleveland. “I think there are general principles that are very valuable to America and of course to express those principles you’re going to use similar language.”

 

Joe Gruters, the Trump campaign’s Florida co-chairman, was also dismissive of the controversy as Florida co-chairwoman Susie Wiles stood by and nodded in agreement.

 

“I don’t think there was anything to it — you know, a couple of similar words,” Gruters said. “Her remarks were based on her life with her team of speechwriters and there was nothing to it. I think what they’re doing is they’re overblowing this and trying to take the focus away from her message and what she was trying to deliver. I think she did an amazing job. It was a great speech. She’s a wonderful speaker and she’ll be a wonderful first lady.”

 

Donald Trump's Florida campaign co-chairs, Joe Gruters and Susie Wiles, at a Florida Republican convention delegation breakfast.
Donald Trump’s Florida campaign co-chairs, Joe Gruters and Susie Wiles, at a Florida Republican convention delegation breakfast.

State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola, both quoted William Shakespeare to dismiss the controversy.

 

“I think it’s much ado about nothing,” said Negron, who said he found Trump’s speech “substantially different” from Obama’s.

 

Said Miller: “I think it’s much ado about nothing. I can remember the same charges being leveled against the president of the United States for, quote, ‘lifting words’ from John Edwards. I mean ‘our word is our bond’ – everybody says that.”

 

In Melania Trump’s speech, she said: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.”
In Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech, she said: “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you’re going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them and even if you don’t agree with them.”

 

Later, Melania Trump said: “We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
From Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech: “Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”

Florida gets good seats, several speakers at Republican convention

The Florida delegation will get a close-up view of the podium at the Republican National Convention.
The Florida delegation will get a close-up view of the podium at the Republican National Convention.
A view of Quicken Loans Arena during preparations on Friday.
A view of Quicken Loans Arena during preparations on Friday.

CLEVELAND — Donald Trump‘s two home states — New York and Florida — get prime seats in the center section of the floor at next week’s Republican National Convention.

 

Floridians will also be prominent in each night’s roster of speakers.

 

RNC seating chartNew York gets the front seven or eight rows on the floor at the Quicken Loans Arena, with Florida’s 99 delegates behind them.

 

The Post's George Bennett is reporting from Cleveland. Follow PostOnPolitics.com and @gbennettpost on Twitter.
The Post’s George Bennett is reporting from Cleveland. Follow PostOnPolitics.com and @gbennettpost on Twitter.

Floridians speaking at the convention include Republican National Committee Co-Chairwoman Sharon Day of Fort Lauderdale on Monday night, retired neurosurgeon and West Palm Beach resident Ben Carson on Tuesday and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Wednesday.

 

A schedule released by the convention today does not include speaking times for Florida Gov. Rick Scott or Karen Vaughn, the Martin County mother of a Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

 

Sen. Marco Rubio will also appear on video during the convention.

Elizabeth Magowan of Syracuse, N.Y., helped inflate the approximately 100,000 balloons for the event.
Elizabeth Magowan of Syracuse, N.Y., helped inflate the approximately 100,000 balloons for the event.

 

 

Trump-backer Ben Carson: ‘If you’re a Republican, try to be nice to a Republican’

President William Flemming, left, and Dr. Ben Carson shake hands with staff members during Palm Beach Atlantic University graduation ceremonies at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in downtown West Palm Beach on May 7, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
President William Flemming, left, and Dr. Ben Carson shake hands with staff members during Palm Beach Atlantic University graduation ceremonies at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in downtown West Palm Beach on May 7, 2016. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

West Palm Beach resident Ben Carson made the 15-mile trek from his home in Ibis to the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Saturday to deliver the commencement address for Palm Beach Atlantic University.

 

Our Jane Musgrave reports the retired pediatric neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate — now a key adviser to Donald Trump on his vice presidential selection — generally stayed away from politics in his remarks to graduates from the Christian college.

 

He did, however, allude to the nastiness between the major parties and within the GOP these days.

 

“If you’re a Democrat, try to be nice to a Republican. If you’re a Republican, try to be nice to a Democrat,” Carson said. After a pause, he added, “If you’re a Republican, try to be nice to a Republican.”

 

Click here to read the entire story.

 

Will Ben Carson pull a Cheney as Donald Trump’s VP selection adviser?

Ben Carson and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in March (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)
Ben Carson and Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in March (Meghan McCarthy / Palm Beach Daily News)

Ben Carson has gone from West Palm Beach retiree to Republican presidential contender to key adviser to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

 

Ben Carson, here with Donald Trump strategist Paul Manafort (left) has emerged as a key adviser to the presumptive GOP nominee. (AP photo / Wilfredo Lee)
Ben Carson, here with Donald Trump strategist Paul Manafort (left) has emerged as a key adviser to the presumptive GOP nominee. (AP photo / Wilfredo Lee)

Carson, part of the team Trump sent to make nice with Republican National Committee members in Hollywood last month, will also play a leading role in Trump’s search for a running mate.

 

Early veep speculation has included Florida Gov. Rick Scott, as Tallahassee stalwart John Kennedy reports.

 

Carson’s role is similar to the one Dick Cheney played for George W. Bush in 2000 — before Cheney himself ended up as Bush’s running mate and one of the most influential VPs in history.

 

Trump says he’s leaning toward a politically experienced running mate who can deal with Congress in a Trump Administration.

Ben Carson to speak at Palm Beach Atlantic University graduation Saturday

Ben Carson after the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland last August.
Ben Carson after the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland last August.

West Palm Beach resident and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson will be the featured speaker Saturday for Palm Beach Atlantic University’s spring commencement.

 

At Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Carson looks on after endorsing Donald Trump in March.
At Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Carson looks on after endorsing Donald Trump in March.

Carson, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon before entering politics, dropped his presidential bid in March and then endorsed part-time Palm Beach resident Donald Trump.

 

The Christian college will award 540 diplomas in afternoon ceremonies at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Tickets are not available for the general public but the event will be streamed live online at http://www.pba.edu.

 

Carson’s Christian faith is central to his 1990 biography Gifted Hands, and the book’s ghostwriter visited Palm Beach Atlantic last year.

 

 

Two Donald Trumps? Ben Carson endorses the ‘cerebral’ one in Palm Beach

Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the White and Gold Ballroom at Mar-a-Lago as Ben Carson looks on.
Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the White and Gold Ballroom at Mar-a-Lago as Ben Carson looks on.

PALM BEACH — Ben Carson, once accused by Donald Trump of having a “pathological” anger problem that couldn’t be cured, endorsed the Republican front runner this morning in an ornate ballroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

“We buried the hatchet. That was political stuff,” Carson told reporters.

Carson, who dropped out of the Republican race last week, said he decided to back Trump because he is concerned about the “Never Trump” movement that seeks to derail Trump’s campaign.

“What I have been seeing recently is political operatives and parties once again trying to assert themselves and trying to thwart the will of the people. I find that that is an extraordinarily dangerous place to be right now. I want the voice of the people to be heard,” Carson said.

“Some people have said, ‘Why would you get behind a man like Donald Trump?’ I’ll tell you why. First off, I’ve come to know Donald Trump over the last few years. He is actually a very intelligent man who cares deeply about America.'” Carson said.

“There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage and there’s the one who’s very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully and you can have a very good conversation with him. That’s the Donald Trump that you’re going to start seeing more and more of.”

Trump, asked about the Two Trumps Theory, said: “I probably do agree. I think there are two Donald Trumps. There’s the public version and people see that and I don’t know what they see exactly but it seems to have worked over my lifetime, but it’s probably different than the personal Donald Trump…Ben said it very well. Perhaps there are two Donald Trumps.”