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Transition to Trump: Ben Carson as HUD Secretary makes him the Democrats’ worst enemy

Though the move had been in the rumor mill for a couple weeks now, Trump made it official yesterday that fellow Republican presidential candidate turned Trump supporter Ben Carson will be joining his administration at the cabinet level.

Pete Kasperowicz of the Washington Examiner reports, “President-elect Trump on Monday announced his Ben Carsonintention to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as his secretary of Housing and Urban Development…

“’I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,’ Trump said Monday morning. ‘Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.’”

Carson, of course, signaled just after the election that he wasn’t interested in a cabinet position because he didn’t feel qualified to lead a federal agency (he was thought to be in line for the Health and Human Services job that eventually went to Rep. Tom Price). I’m not sure what changed Ben’s mind, but this is yet another Trump appointment that’s bound to please conservatives.

Having grown up in a one-parent household in inner-city Detroit, Carson knows all about the challenges facing poor people in the housing realm. As a leading African-American professional and Obama critic, expect Senate Democrats to give Carson a thorough grilling during his confirmation hearings.

As a minority, Carson’s openly conservative social views aren’t welcome in leftist circles and there was a time late last year that the former neurosurgeon was just as much of a lightning rod for media criticism as Trump himself. Who can forget Carson mocking the press by holding up the sign “I am a Christian” after the anti-Christian Oregon shootings?

Carson also drew much ire from the left for his non-politically correct response to the Paris terrorist attack and views on Muslim immigration. At that point the media launched its all-out assault on Carson and his poll numbers began dropping. By December he’d been overtaken by Ted Cruz as the most obvious challenger to Trump’s lead.

All of Carson’s principled stances are bound to draw attention during Carson’s HUD confirmation hearings, including his opposition to Obama’s “diversity rule”.  His critics are already pointing to the fact he has no “experience” in federal housing and is not familiar with the programs he’ll be overseeing.

I’m sure they would feel more comfortable with a Democrat mayor taking the position, someone who’s intimately familiar with the multitude of ways to procure billions in taxpayers’ dollars only to fail to achieve any lasting change or improvement in the lives of the people they’re supposed to help.

Unlike Trump, Carson may not personally know everything involved with building a skyscraper, but is very familiar with the problems associated with inner city housing, wisdom that is much more valuable than merely being readily able to shower money on old problems.

In this sense, it’s a very good thing to have some new “gifted hands” at the controls, isn’t it?

Conservatives are excited over the chance to end the exile and finally make a difference

Similar to the enthusiasm conservatives feel about Trump’s proposed elevation of Ben Carson to lead the federal government’s housing department is their tangible excitement at the prospect of finally getting a chance to implement the policies many in the conservative movement have been putting together ever since Ronald Reagan left office.

If personnel is policy, then the wrong personnel has been in place for a long, long time. With Trump’s heavy emphasis on naming principled conservatives to his cabinet, it has all the looks of a new dawn for America in the coming years.

Even the George W. Bush administration didn’t present this great of an opportunity, having been staffed virtually from top-to-bottom with the type of go-along-to-get-along big government establishment Republicans that have been just as much a part of the problem as the Democrats.

With Trump, the Bush #NeverTrumpers are on the outs and the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society are filling the void.

John Fund of National Review wrote, “With the sidelining of the Bush League, others will fill the vacuum of the Trump transition team. Conservatives are cheerful at the thought, in large part because the Trump transition team is relying heavily on groups such as the Federalist Society.

“Among such groups, perhaps the biggest role is being played by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that played a major role in Ronald Reagan’s transition in 1981. Back then, its 1,100-page book of policy analysis, Mandate for Leadership, offered specific recommendations on policy, budget, and administrative action for all Cabinet departments, as well as advice on agencies staffed by political appointees. Reagan gave a copy of the book to each member of his Cabinet at their first meeting. Heritage boasts that 60 percent of its recommendations became reality in some form during Reagan’s tenure.”

If anyone has proved that having the right -- or wrong -- people in place can make all the difference, it’s the Obama administration. How many times has some simple interpretation of American law or tradition gone unheeded by the Obama henchmen just because they arrogantly chose to ignore it?

Perhaps the most glaring example is Obamacare’s insurance mandate which actually compels someone under threat of punishment to buy something that they may not be able to afford or even want. If there’s a greater example of government overreach, I’m at a loss to think of it.

Obama’s federal courts also proved they were more than willing to go along with whatever the administration dictated. The “old” America was gone. Trump vowed to “Make America Great Again” and now suddenly people have hope.

All of this will take place after January 20, of course, but Newt Gingrich argued that it’s already happening. Gingrich wrote at Fox News, “Trumpism is transforming the roles of our two political parties. While Democratic elitists are mocking the Carrier achievement and minimizing its importance, millions of blue collar Americans are glad someone finally cares about them. The isolation of the Democrats into a left-wing club of clueless and out-of-touch elitists continues. The transformation of the Republican Party into the party that cares about families and jobs moves forward.

“Eleven hundred happy families at Christmas is a big deal.

“This year it is Donald Trump's deal. It is quite an achievement seven weeks before being sworn in as President of the United States.”

The eleven hundred happy families Gingrich refers to are those whose jobs were saved in the Trump/Pence/Carrier deal. Gingrich basically argues that Trump is winning because he intervened decisively and successfully whereas politicians of the past would just sit back and watch while American lives were being hurt.

That’s the populism element of Trump’s philosophy, perhaps a break with Republican Party orthodoxy of the past. For many, it will take some getting used to.

So will the measures Trump is proposing to prevent companies from leaving the country. Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports, “President-elect Donald Trump vowed to whiplash companies that offshore jobs then try to sell goods back into the U.S. with a 35 percent imports tax, in a series of Sunday-morning Twitter posts...

“He promised to ‘substantially reduce’ regulations and taxes on American corporations, but those companies that have a U.S. presence but build factories or plants elsewhere and then try to sell back here will be punished for that decision.

“’There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 percent for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units etc., back across the border,’ he tweeted.”

As everyone knows, Trump promised many times during the campaign that he would make it difficult for companies to just up and head across the border and then sell their products back to American consumers without anyone noticing. Trump’s tariff proposal is already facing opposition from his own party’s congressional leadership, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

This is where populism meets the Republican establishment. Prepare for an epic battle.

Trump will also do what it takes to keep the people on his side. For this reason, some are saying he’s still campaigning even though the election is over.

Caitlin Huey-Burns of Real Clear Politics writes, “He has used social media and other avenues to talk about his Cabinet considerations, introducing theater and intrigue to a process that typically happens behind the scenes…

“As for the transition travel, it provides the president-elect clear benefits, allowing him to connect with his base while attempting to bridge some divides.  It also reinforces his outsider brand and helps to underscore the election message about the disconnect between Washington and those who feel forgotten by it.”

Trump’s “tours” will apparently continue after his inauguration. If you live in a swing state, expect to see events well into his presidency.

It’s clear that Donald J. Trump intends to turn the Washington political world on its head. The entrenched forces of the opposition and the status quo are gearing up to fight the change in policy and personnel.

It’s going to be one heck of a wild ride.

The crucial Trump cabinet choice we hardly ever hear about: EPA Administrator

The matter may not get as many headlines as the hotly anticipated upcoming Secretary of State appointment, but one of Trump’s other cabinet members is almost certain to make as big a splash starting next year if his or her mind for reform matches the new president’s.

I’m speaking of the infamous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal watchdog that’s solely responsible for proffering multitudes of regulations that cost American businesses – and American job-seekers – billions every year.

If America is truly going to be made great again, restoring sanity to the EPA is a good place to start. Perhaps because the names associated with the position aren’t as familiar as those vying for the State position, whoever will become the new Director of the EPA really hasn’t received a whole lot of attention thus far.

Rumors indicate Trump has narrowed the short-list to two. According to Politico’s daily cabinet watch page, “Kathleen Hartnett White, the former head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt are seen as the top candidates to lead the EPA.”

But campaign insiders suggest there are others also being considered, including a conservative scientist from North Carolina. Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller reports, “[A] new name is on the lips of some on Trump’s transition team: Dr. Donald van der Vaart.

“Van der Vaart is a PhD chemical engineer who currently heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. If appointed and approved by Congress, Van der Vaart would be the first PhD scientist to head EPA. He also holds a law degree.

“Sources close to Trump’s transition team said van der Vaart would put a halt to overreaching regulations and the so-called ‘secret science’ EPA relies on to push ever-stricter rules on businesses.”

It should be noted Politico’s cabinet watch page doesn’t even list Van der Vaart (this report from The Hill also discounts his chances) as a contender, so if he’s actually being considered, the “insiders” must be supplying all the intelligence. From Bastasch’s article we learn Van der Vaart has been especially vocal in regards to the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the “waters of the United States” rule.

From personal experience, I know anyone looking to improve a parcel of property of any appreciable size knows the frustrations involved with the “waters of the U.S.” rule. Having spoken with a number of developers regarding the EPA’s stringent requirements, it’s a huge impediment to private business and new construction.

But all of this underscores the need for Trump to choose wisely on the new EPA director, especially since the agency is symbolic of the types of federal overreach that have held down job creating American business owners for decades. If there’s one area of federal bureaucracy that simply cannot wait any longer for reform, it’s the EPA.

Whoever Trump chooses is bound to be a step up from the current EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy. McCarthy has led Obama’s all-out assault on common sense environmental regulation in favor of advancing “climate change” theories and other pet projects of the political left.

For example, McCarthy has allowed rogue state Attorneys General to pursue disruptive actions against private companies, a witch hunt that must be stopped.

There’s also the sovereignty question to consider, as international “climate” treaties unduly punish American manufacturers while letting the world’s biggest polluters – among them China and India – go relatively unscathed. The United States needs leadership that will not automatically charge off in pursuit of the latest global climate initiative.

We need to put John Kerry and people like him out of business.

It’s about time that people like actor Leonardo DiCaprio aren’t steering the national conversation on the environment. It doesn’t take a genius to want to protect one’s own property from abuse – and individuals know a lot more about preserving the value of their own environment than bureaucrats in the far off capital.

Simply put, the new head of the EPA will be one of Trump’s most important selections and will no doubt be key to his maintaining popularity in the upcoming administration.

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President Trump has made a good choice to have Dr Ben Carson on board. Congratulations to both Gentlemen. And God bless America