WASHINGTON (CN) – President-elect Donald Trump formally nominated Dr. Ben Carson on Monday as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, ending speculation that had been simmering for more than a week that the retired neurosurgeon would take the job.
Trump’s intention to nominate Carson for the position leaked out before Thanksgiving, but Carson said through a spokesman he would wait until after the holiday to accept it. Carson is the first African American nominated to serve in Trump’s cabinet.
By accepting the position Carson will oversee a department in charge of enforcing fair housing laws, developing public housing and giving subsidies to low-income people to help provide affordable housing.
“I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Trump said in a statement. “Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”
Once a rival of Trump in the Republican primaries, Carson was one of the first to support the billionaire’s run after dropping out of the race. Carson insisted earlier in November he would not serve in Trump’s administration.
“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration,” Carson said in a statement. “I feel that I can make significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”