Donald Trump has picked Ben Carson as secretary of housing and urban development.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities,” the president-elect said in a statement about his former rival for the Republican nomination, adding that the two had discussed his “urban renewal agenda”.
Ben Carson is the first African-American to be nominated for Donald Trump’s cabinet.
The retired neurosurgeon endorsed Donald Trump in March after ending his own bid for the White House.
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“Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans,” Donald Trump’s statement said.
However, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the nomination of Ben Carson calling him a “disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice to lead a department as complex and consequential as housing and urban development”.
The agency has an annual budget of about $50 billion.
Donald Trump has not always been so positive about the man he has chosen to join his administration.
In November 2015, when Ben Carson briefly overtook him in the polls for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump launched sustained attacks on his rival’s character.
In one tweet, he brought together three of Ben Carson’s most controversial statements, bringing up Carson’s own admissions about his violent behavior growing up in a poor family in Detroit.
Ben Carson has since reiterated statements about his teenage years first made in his autobiography, in which he admitted to wanting to hit his mother on the head with a hammer and to trying to stab a friend.
His assertion that the Egyptian pyramids were not built to entomb pharaohs but instead by the Biblical figure Joseph to store grain were widely ridiculed when they emerged in November.
Ben Carson is a devout Protestant Christian who is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church.
Cabinet appointments need to be confirmed by the Senate.
There are still major cabinet positions yet to be announced, including the next secretary of state.
As well as his top team, Donald Trump has about 4,000 government positions to fill.
Ben Carson has admitted that he never applied to join the West Point, despite implications in his book that he had.
The Republican presidential hopeful wrote in his 1996 autobiography, Gifted Hands, that he had been offered a full scholarship by the military academy.
However, West Point said it had no record of an application from Ben Carson.
Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign team has denied that he lied about West Point, saying the academy effectively offered him a place.
In his book, Ben Carson recalls a meeting in 1969 when he was a high school student in Detroit enrolled in the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program, which provides preliminary officer training for students.
Then 17 years old, Ben Carson dined with the decorated general, William Westmoreland, and says in his book that a “full scholarship” was subsequently offered.
However, the presidential hopeful’s campaign team on November 6, after inquiries by Politico, said he never applied to join West Point and the scholarship assertion was based on “conversations” he had.
“His senior commander was in touch with West Point and told Dr. Carson he could get in, Dr Carson did not seek admission,” campaign spokesman Doug Watts told Reuters in an email.
The confusion comes as other parts of Ben Carson’s personal story related in his book have also been questioned.
He has stood by his assertion in the autobiography that in his youth he was prone to sudden violent rages that he has overcome as an adult.
In one episode, he lunged with a knife at a close friend but fortunately struck his friend’s belt buckle.
The retired neurosurgeon has made much of his struggling childhood while on the campaign trail.
Ben Carson is the joint frontrunner in the Republican presidential race with Donald Trump, who wasted no time in capitalizing on the latest story.
Donald Trump tweeted: “Wow, one of many lies by Ben Carson! Big story.”
Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson, with no political experience, were under attack from the start of the third GOP presidential debate in Colorado.
Ohio Governor John Kasich condemned their “fantasy tax plans” and added: “We can’t elect someone who doesn’t know how to do the job.”
Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who has edged past Donald Trump in the latest national polls, had a quiet night in Boulder.
His tax proposal, which is based on biblical tithes, was decried by John Kasich, who also dismissed Donald Trump’s plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the Mexico border.
Political friendships were strained by some of the testy exchanges, notably one between former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
Jeb Bush urged Marco Rubio, once his protégé, to resign from the Senate because of his poor voting record.
The media were also in the firing line – Texas Senator Ted Cruz got the night’s biggest applause when he attacked the hosts, CNBC for stirring confrontation.
“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match.”
The hostility against CNBC continued after the debate when Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus complained about the “gotcha questions”.
The four lowest-polling Republican candidates squared off in an early debate.
Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, got the most laughs, especially when he said Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders “went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and I don’t think he ever came back”.
Primary voting begins in February in Iowa, 10 months before the US goes to the polls to vote for its new president.
Ben Carson has knocked Donald Trump off top spot in the Republican presidential campaign.
The retired neurosurgeon takes a narrow lead in a New York Times/CBS News poll, ousting Donald Trump who has led the pack for nearly four months.
The news comes on the eve of the third TV debate for Republican contenders.
The next-ranked candidates are Marco Rubio (8%), Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina (7% each) but they are a long way behind.
Conservative Ben Carson, who has expressed extreme views on a range of issues, has 26% of Republican primary voter support, according to the telephone poll of 575 voters.
The 64-year-old lead of 4% over Donald Trump is well within the 6% margin of error.
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Florida Senator Marco Rubio has 8% support and the rest closely follow behind him.
Donald Trump has turned his fire to Ben Carson in recent days, attacking him as “low energy” and questioning his Seventh Day Adventist faith.
The two will meet on the stage at Boulder, Colorado, at the Republican debate on October 28.
Primary voting begins in February in Iowa, where Ben Carson also leads the polls.
Ben Carson was criticized this week for comparing abortion to slavery.
The retired doctor has said President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform was “the worst thing” since slavery and that the US government is acting like Nazi Germany.
He also asserted that being gay is a choice, Muslims aren’t qualified to seek the US presidency, the Holocaust could have been prevented if persecuted Europeans owned more guns and – just a few days ago – that the US government should cut off funding to universities that are found to exhibit “extreme political bias”.
Ben Carson’s comments on abortion have set off yet another cycle of outrage from the left – a reaction that he will likely wear as a badge of honor.