MINNESOTA – Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-CD4) wrote on Facebook Monday that she feels former Republican presidential candidate and neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is not qualified to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” McCollum wrote, “but it does take someone with a basic understanding of how to help all Americans afford safe and decent housing.”
Dr. Carson has a remarkable biography, having been born into poverty and raised by a single mother who worked several jobs and relied occasionally on food stamps and other government assistance to get by. Through hard work and encouragement from his mother, Dr. Carson attended Yale University and University of Michigan Medical School and eventually became director of pediatric neurosurgery at age 33 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Carson was the youngest U.S. physician at the time to hold such a position. He attracted national attention by successfully operating on 7-month-old German twins who were conjoined at the head.
By comparison, McCollum has spent the last 29 years in Minnesota politics, serving on the North St. Paul City Council from 1987-1993, then moving onto the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1993 and eventually becoming a member of the United States Congress in 2001, where she has served the 4th Congressional District for the past 15 years. Prior to her career in politics, McCollum taught high school social science and spent 25 years in retail sales and management, according to her official biography on her website.
McCollum argues in her Facebook post that Carson has “no public policy experience and has expressed radical views, including calling provisions of the Fair Housing Act – which prevents housing discrimination on grounds such as race and disability – ‘communist’.”
McCollum’s remark references a radio interview that Carson had with WHO-AM’s Jan Mickelson back in 2015 in Iowa.
During the interview, Mickelson told Carson that eastern Iowans were being told that they had to recruit poverty-afflicted individuals from Chicago and bring them to Iowa to qualify for Section 8 housing. Carson said in response, “This is just an example of what happens when we allow the government to infiltrate every part of our lives. This is what you see in communist countries where they have so many regulations encircling every aspect of your life that if you don’t agree with them, all they have to do is pull the noose. And this is what we’ve got now.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said in an interview on “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning that Carson is a “brilliant man.”
“He’s an extraordinarily humble man. He grew up in Detroit. He grew up in an urban environment and built a life story that’s been an inspiration to millions of Americans. He’s going to lead that agency with integrity, with great distinction,” Pence said on FOX News.
McCollum said via Facebook, “Dr. Carson is not qualified to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. I urge the Senate to reject this nomination.”