Donald Trump nominates former rival Ben Carson for housing secretary

Trump said the retired neurosurgeon "has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities"

Image: PA Photo

Republican primary candidate Ben Carson (right) has released a campaign rap ad Image: PA Photo

US President-elect has nominated Ben Carson - his former rival for the Republican nomination - to be his housing and urban development secretary.

Dr Carson is a retired neurosurgeon, and is known for his conservative and often controversial viewpoints on many political & social issues.

Despite a sometimes bitter primary campaign, Carson endorsed Trump shortly after dropping out of the race himself, saying the two men had 'buried the hatchet'.

Today's news comes despite Carson having previously suggested he was not interested in a place in the Trump administration, with an ally saying Dr Carson believed he had no government experience.

Announcing the nomination, Mr Trump said: "Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities. 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.”

Dr Carson, meanwhile, said: “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," he added.

Last year, Dr Carson wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times criticising the Obama administration's housing policy.

"There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous," he argued.

Carson is likely to prove another controversial choice in the Trump administration. The President-elect still has to make nominations for a number of key roles, including secretary of state.