Former Republican presidential candidate and neurosurgeon Ben Carson reportedly will not join the Trump administration, with sources saying he has no interest in serving as secretary of health and human services, according to The Hill. In what may be his most lucid moment to date, a friend of Carson's said he did not want to take the job because of his lack of governmental experience.
"Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency," Armstrong Williams, a friend of Carson, told The Hill.
If this report proves true and that Carson will, indeed, bow out because of his lack of experience, it is somewhat of a breath of fresh air from an unlikely source. After all, it can't be overlooked that Carson's governmental inexperience did not stop him from running for president.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Carson said that he would prefer to help Trump from outside of the confines of the administration. “The way I’m leaning is to work from the outside and not from the inside. I want to have the freedom to work on many issues and not be pigeonholed into one particular area," Carson said. He went on to say that Trump will face much opposition, and that he will need allies on the outside to help him progress his agenda. He also added, "Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water, quite frankly.” Again, he ran for president.
Initially, there were conflicting reports on whether or not Carson was officially offered a specific role in the Trump administration. A news brief from Circa cited Williams as saying, "The President-elect offered him anything he wanted to do." But speaking with The Hill, Williams clarified that Carson wasn't offered a specific position, but confirmed that "everything was open to him." Reports said that he was being considered for a number of positions in the administration, namely secretary of health and human services, but also secretary of education.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the government agency tasked with enhancing and protecting "the health and well-being of all Americans." The department most recently came into the spotlight in 2014, when then-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned amid fallout over the unsuccessful launch of the Affordable Care Act, namely the problems with the health care exchange website. President Obama's signature legislation was marred by technical problems in its rollout, and much of the blame fell to Sebelius' department.
Carson may have achieved a level of self-awareness not previously exhibited in his campaign for president. Or, he knows that secretary of health and human services will be a tough job, and doesn't want to shoulder the responsibility of replacing Obamacare, as Donald Trump has promised to do.