Ben Carson Will Not Serve in Trump Cabinet

Ben Carson has rejected a position in U. S. President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, according to media reports today. The Seventh-day Adventist retired neurosurgeon and former Republican rival endorsed Trump after dropping out of the presidential race. Many saw Carson as a likely head of Health and Human Services or as a candidate for Attorney General or the Education Department. Carson business manager and advisor Armstrong Williams said Tuesday that Carson will not fill any of those posts.

“It’s not an issue of him turning down anything” Williams told Politico. “It was clear that he had his pick of what he wanted to do.”

Speaking to a reporter for The Hill, Williams said Carson decided his lack of experience as an elected official made him better suited as an outside advisor than as Trump Administration appointee.

"Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency,” Williams told The Hill. “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency."

In an early indicator of voters’ discontent with the political establishment, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, the only two candidates to lead the crowded Republican field after July 2015, were the two GOP primary contenders who had no prior experience in elected office.

For a brief time, Carson overtook Trump as GOP frontrunner in national polling, but Carson’s popularity nosedived after Trump called into question Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist faith.

During a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Florida, Trump contrasted his professed faith and Carson’s:

"Can you believe it? Nobody believes I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."

That missive from Trump provided the Adventist Church in North America a brief window to introduce Adventism to a watching public. Denominational leaders had issued a statement when Carson announced his candidacy reaffirming the church’s neutrality in political contests.

The Adventist Church has a longstanding position of not supporting or opposing any candidate for elected office. This position is based both on our historical position of separation of church and state and the applicable federal law relating to the church’s tax-exempt status.

Soon after Trump’s questioning the Adventist faith and a series of Carson gaffes, Carson’s poll numbers began a decline that saw him drop out of the race without winning a single state. Carson endorsed Trump one week later, fueling speculation that Carson might be aiming for the number two spot on the Republican ticket. However, after clinching the nomination, Trump chose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate.

After dropping out of the race for the White House, Carson was appointed chair of My Faith Votes, a Christian non-profit that targets Evangelical values voters to encourage their political participation. Carson continues to serve in that capacity.

His announcement today that he will not take a cabinet position ends months of conjecture over his future within the Trump Administration. It comes two days after President-elect Trump appointed white nationalist Stephen Bannon his chief strategist. The former head of alt-right news outlet Breitbart News, Bannon advised Trump in his successful campaign against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Bannon’s appointment elicited praise from the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white nationalist groups.

Ben Carson has not publicly spoken out about the Bannon appointment.

 

UPDATE - Since this story was published, Ben Carson posted on his verified Facebook page the following:

My decision not to seek a cabinet position in the Trump administration has nothing to do with the complexity of the job as is being reported by some news outlets. I believe it is vitally important for the Trump administration to have many outspoken friends and advisers who are outside of the Washington bubble. It is vital to have independent voices of reason and reconciliation if our nation is to heal and regain its greatness. I will continue to work with the transition team and beyond as we build a dynamite executive branch of government.

 

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.

If you respond to this article, please:

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7756

Carson often sounds controversial!

Referring to Stephen Bannon as a “white nationalist” in the tag line for this article is an inaccurate polarizing negative epithet and seems peripheral to the topic of article. This seems analogous to some Adventists tagging SPECTRUM and Adventist Forums negatively because some views expressed in the comments are problematic, an occasional article may lack balance and some extremists praise SPECTRUM.

In the setting of the headline for this article, it also seems inflammatory. The unsupported implication would be that Dr. Carson’s decision was in some way related to Bannon’s appointment and racial issues. What seems like news to one person may seem like a smear to another.

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In an interview with Sarah Posner, Stephen Bannon said of Breitbart News, for which he served as executive chairman before coming on as an advisor to Donald Trump, “We’re the platform for the alt-right,” which has a well documented predilection for ethno-nationalism.

A very brief Google search reveals that news organizations from Fox to CNN to the New York Times and The Guardian (not to mention scores of outlets in between) have reported extensively on Bannon’s white nationalist connectedness.

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Perhaps there might be some difference between “Alt-Right” and “White Nationalism”? And further, some difference between chairing a news organization which served, in part, as a platform for “Alt-Right” views, and being a “White Nationalist”? In my opinion, this piece could reasonably be viewed as “failing to demonstrate respect for people and ideas”, to the extent that it may reasonably raise the question as to whether authors/editors should be held to the same standards as contributors to the spectrum conversation. Perhaps Bannon’s credentials don’t scream “establishment” enough to suit everyone, but they appear to have satisfied the president elect, which will at least get Bannon a seat at the table as long as he keeps it up.

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I must say that I am relieved that Ben Carson has decided to not take a position. I was not looking forward to wishing I could cut off his microphone.

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The blindness of some is astounding and disturbing. Go look up Bannon. His conservativism is bound up with white supremacy. If Trump feels that this deserves a place at the table, and if his supporters turn a blind eye to this guy’s background and history, then we are in for the trouble that many of us have been anticipating.

Thanks…

Frank

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In the euphoria and prospect of almost unlimited power we may well feel empowered and able to accept challanges we don’t really have clue about (here the office of POTUS). Things we do know something about (here the field of medicine) help us to be more realistic and recognize our limitations.

Nevertheless, Carson’s ambition to be an advisor to Mr. Trump probably would fall in the first category again.

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I think Dr. Ben Carson could serve well as surgeon general.

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Dr. Ben Carson, until the last year and a half, was a very respected individual in most quarters of American society. This was due to his skills in the field of medicine and his appropriate social behaviors. Unfortunately for him, he thought his trained skills in one area (medicine) could be easily transferred to the field of politics (needing a high degree of knowledge mainly in the social sciences) where he lacked a solid foundation to talk intelligently about national and international affairs. The second error was later aligning himself with a campaign headed by someone who was in opposition to his (Carson) moral code. Dr. Carson lost the high level of esteem he had once been held by his acts in the last year and a half.

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I agree 100%. Why did he do that to his long earned professional respect?.. Mid-life crisis? Did he want do commit intellectual suicide? Why get behind a wicked person in a populism ebb fueled by hatred??

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” (S. Hawking)

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To step down was a wise decision, Brother Carson.

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Happy Sabbath. I can only imagine that Mr. Carson has learned something of the dirty world of politics that a person not in that world would not be privy to. As a praying Christian Mr. Carson has likely received guidance from God in this situation, and just like we don’t need to broadcast God’s personal instructions to each of us, neither does he. :slight_smile:

Dr. Carson’s original foray into Washington quagmire was at the “prayer breakfast”. Dr. Carson was obviously unhappy with what Obama was all about and voiced his concerns… The Adventist left wing went berserk; and when he supported Trump, he was accused of trying to wiggle his way into Trump’s white house. Now that he’s declined such a position, he is further maligned in a backhanded way, by saying that maybe he realized he wasn’t up to the task - a guy can’t catch a break, once he’s declared his conservative views.

Trump was impressed by Carson as a person, and his demeanour; and welcomed him as a balance to his own personality. My personal opinion (whatever that means) is that Ben Carson realized what politics is all about and decided to get out while the going was good. More power to him.

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Appears like Brother Ben is reconsidering.

Is it unsurprising we put words into others mouths?
An editorial comment mused Dr Carson refused (incorrect interpretation) cabinet position because
"he was not prepared for it" (incorrect to attribute to Dr Carson).

According to Dr Carson he prefers not to be inside the cabinet.
I did not hear him preclude serving in cabinet in some capacity.
Is it a sin for a Dr to have a second opinion?

In forms and shapes. Editors of any news media. Spectrum is no exception are Diplomats. Ethics rules set out the way they would like if it was profitable. Speak the truth the diplomats have no experience with it. Dr. Ben Carson’s ability he has an opportunity of consideration in President Donald Trump cabinet post a uniquely his. He’s able worth of dissecting his TRUTH. The diplomats will not experience the reputation of truth. They, no experience with Carson’s deepest human spiritual cores of truth. They behaved as if it’s for church common reading room to scrutinies litany surrender at will. Dr. Ben Carson the champion of the working men, women, children has been known to die of overwork in his ER operating room. Dr. Ben carson will serve well in The United States of America President Donald Trump cabinet. Dr. Carson’s most refreshing gumption. The diplomats the editors poor. Separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the wheat get deleted the chaff is printed.