Retired Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson is inadvertently putting his foot in his spokesman’s mouth. The former Republican presidential candidate said on Fox News yesterday that he would give “serious consideration” to any offer from Donald Trump to work in his Cabinet, only days after his business manager said something very different.
On Nov. 15, Carson camp spokesman Armstrong Williams was quoted in The Hill newspaper as saying the retired doctor “feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.” Williams also said, “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
Apparently, that wasn’t an accurate reflection of the former presidential candidate’s feelings. Carson wrote on Facebook later that day, “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,” he wrote, notably blaming the media rather than his spokesman for getting it wrong. Carson added, “I believe it is vitally important for the Trump administration to have many outspoken friends and advisers who are outside of the Washington bubble.”
On Fox News last night, Carson attempted to clarify his feelings about being considered for a Cabinet role. “Basically, I’ve said my preference is to be outside and to act as an adviser, but if after going through the process they all conclude it would be much better to have me in the Cabinet, I would have to give that very serious consideration. It’s just not my preference,” he said.
So now, Donald Trump can rest assured that if he does want Ben Carson to be a member of his working inner circle, the former candidate will definitely mull it over. His odds aren’t terrible: Carson was reportedly already on the short lists for the very disparate positions of secretary of education and secretary of health and human services.