President-elect Donald Trump has picked one of his most anti-LGBT opponents from the primary race, Ben Carson, for his Cabinet.
He today nominated the failed Republican presidential candidate, who has a record of being anti-LGBT, as secretary for Housing and Urban Development. Carson is opposed to marriage equality. Not only that, but he argues that a sitting president should be able to ignore the Supreme Court when it comes to equal marriage rights.
“We have to understand how the Constitution works — the president is required to carry out the laws of the land, the laws of the land come from the legislative branch,” Carson told right-wing outlet Newsmax TV in May of last year. “So if the legislative branch creates a law or changes a law, the executive branch has a responsibly to carry it out. It doesn’t say they have the responsibility to carry out a judicial law.”
Carson has described transgender people as "abnormal." The retired neurosurgeon once told a "joke" that same-sex couples shouldn't buy cakes from bakers who oppose marriage equality because they might put poison in their cake. He says the military should bring back "don't ask, don't tell" and has associated being LGBT with polygamy, pedophilia, and bestiality. When asked about nondiscrimination legislation that provides protections for LGBT people, Carson said, "I think everybody has equal rights, but I'm not sure that anybody should have extra rights — extra rights when it comes to redefining everything for everybody else.”
Along with saying no one should have "extra rights," Carson has also said that states should pass so-called right-to-discriminate legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT people, and activists would argue also discrimination could also be enabled in housing. The retired neurosurgeon claimed that elected officials have a religious right to refuse to serve LGBT people. Carson has referred to LGBT and single parents as not being of "equal value" to opposite-sex married parents. The list of anti-LGBT comments and positions is long.
When Carson was running as a presidential candidate, he appointed anti-LGBT Robert F. Dees, a retired Army major general, as chairman of his campaign. Dees once said that repealing "don't ask, don't tell" was "social experimentation" that degrades the military's "moral readiness."
Carson has been the butt of jokes from Trump, who once tweeted, "With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stab a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage — don't people get it?"
Now he only has nice things to say about Carson. “Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," said Trump in a statement announcing the nomination. "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.”
In the announcement, Carson said of his new appointment, “I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration." “I feel that I can make a 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.”
Carson had previously said he would not be taking a role in Trump's administration because he "feels he has no government experience," as his adviser Armstrong Williams told The Hill. Yet he is now going to be in control of Housing and Urban Development, if he is approved by the Senate.
The doctor, who hails from Detroit, has previously spoken out against public housing, referring to an Iowa discrimination settlement as proof that the U.S. is becoming "communist." “Right, this is just an example of what happens when we allow the government to infiltrate every part of our lives,” said Carson. “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. Every month, dozens of regulations — business, industry, academia, every aspect of our lives — so that they can control you," Carson told a radio host, reported Right Wing Watch.
Progressive groups such as People for the American Way, a group that fights right-wing extremism and defends constitutional values, spoke out against Trump's appointment of Carson. "Ben Carson’s nomination adds to Trump’s never-ending list of nominees who are dangerously unfit for their assigned positions. Carson is manifestly unqualified to serve as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. His limited record on housing issues seems to consist entirely of attacking desegregation programs. He’s spent more time sharing his bizarre views on the Egyptian pyramids and LGBT equality than he has talking about the issues he’d be responsible for in this role," said People for the American Way President Michael Keegan.