Courtesy Fox News

If Ben Carson is confirmed as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, his decisions could have a large effect on Baltimore, where somewhere around 27,000 families rely on HUD. Should we be worried about a strange promise he made at his Senate confirmation hearing?

When pressed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren on whether “a single taxpayer dollar” awarded by HUD would “financially benefit the president-elect or his family,” the celebrated Hopkins neurosurgeon replied: “It will not be my intention to do anything to benefit any American.”

That’s not what he meant, of course. And yet, as CityLab noted, the statement wasn’t totally off the mark for someone poised to lead an agency whose initiatives he has categorically derided, having called a desegregation push a “mandated social-engineering scheme.”

His tone at the confirmation hearing was comparatively “soft.” At the same time that he promised to ensure equal access to housing for LGBT people, he repeated his long-held position that “no one gets extra rights,” a phrase Carson has used puzzlingly in the past.

To his credit, Carson affirmed the importance of HUD’s work in “giving [families in need] a safe and productive environment.” That’s encouraging, particularly in light of Baltimore’s lead paint crisis. Carson also acknowledged that many families rely on rental assistance.