The Senate voted 58-41 Thursday morning to confirm Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Unlike controversial Trump, cabinet picks like Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary and Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, the vote to confirm Carson did not face much pushback from congressional Democrats.
Support for Carson’s confirmation came down largely along party lines, highlighting the intense partisan and ideological conflicts in Washington and around Trump’s agenda. Carson, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 against Trump and endorsed the celebrity real estate developer shortly after ending his unsuccessful bid.
The secretary has indicated that, now that he is confirmed, he will embark on a “listening tour” to learn from career HUD employees and public servants across the country. He and his allies have expressed dismay at his delayed confirmation, which was initially expected to pass through the Senate in early February.
Ben Carson has no experience running a large federal bureaucracy. His agenda as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is unknown: it is not clear how much he’ll work to change existing policy. In his confirmation hearing, Carson would not commit to preventing tax dollars from making their way to Trump businesses.