It's starting to feel like President-elect Donald Trump is playing games with his cabinet appointment process. Almost like he's a reality TV show host or something, you know? And one possible choice he just tweeted about feels especially absurd, for reasons that will become apparent — Trump's approach to cabinet appointments is weak, or at least that's what's suggested by his renewed embrace of retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. Update: On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Carson had accepted the position. Later Wednesday, Carson said the paper had misquoted his spokesperson, and that Carson had not made a decision.
The last time you heard Carson's name in relation to a possible cabinet appointment, Trump was talking him up as a potential Secretary of Education. That's one major difference between then and now. The other one, however, is a little harder to wrap your head around: Carson reportedly withdrew from consideration himself, with longtime Carson adviser Armstrong Williams telling The Hill that the 65-year-old did not feel qualified to helm an agency. "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency," Williams said. "The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency."
In other words — assuming the veracity of Williams' initial statement to the press — Trump is now actively considering somebody to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who doesn't even think himself qualified for the job.
That's ridiculous enough on its own, absent any new information on why Carson had a change of heart, or an explanation of how he went from unprepared to run a federal agency to having his name in the mix for HUD secretary. But it gets even stranger when you consider that Carson has no relevant experience to be in charge of housing and urban development whatsoever.
The only agency you could argue his career as a renowned brain surgeon has prepared him to lead on any level, even though it's still a massive stretch, is the Department of Health and Human Services. The HUD suggestion seems more like someone blindly throwing darts at a board to see what sticks, so much so that it's set off speculation on social media about why Trump would consider him for such a spot.
It's anybody's guess whether Carson will actually end up in the Trump administration in any meaningful capacity, although given his previous insistence he wouldn't, it seems like a very unsafe assumption. However, this much is very clear: just like Trump's tweet about being the only one who knows who the "finalists" are suggested, it seems like he's treating this more as a suspense-inducing sideshow than a serious process of building a government.