Former Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson will take the Thanksgiving break to mull over whether he should be President-elect Trump's secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"He's still considering. Expect something shortly after Thanksgiving," Carson's business partner and spokesman, Armstrong Williams, told the Washington Examiner late Wednesday afternoon.
Williams rejected a report by The Wall Street Journal, in which Carson was said to have already accepted the position. "Not true," he said.
Carson said Wednesday morning that an announcement about his role in the incoming Republican administration was imminent, after telling Fox News on Tuesday that he intended to prayerfully consider the offer.
"After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone," Carson had written on Facebook Wednesday morning, just one day after he was confirmed as a "serious" contender for HUD secretary in a tweet by Trump.
"We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid," Carson said.
Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., was not prepared to comment on Carson's apparent appointment, his spokeswoman said. Royce is a senior member of the Housing and Insurance panel of the House Financial Services Committee.
But conservative housing experts seem to welcome the idea of having Carson lead the department.
"I am optimistic about having Ben Carson as HUD secretary," said the Heritage Foundation's Randal O'Toole. "Parts of the nation suffer from major government-induced housing shortages that are severely impacting low-income blacks and other minorities. The Obama administration's solution was to build more high-cost, high-density housing. That has never worked in any urban area that has tried it.
"The real solution is to end government restrictions on suburban development in California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and New England states. This will allow more construction of low-cost, low-density housing, which will make housing affordable again. Carson is the best candidate to see that and I hope he will make the appropriate changes in HUD policy."
And self-proclaimed Trump supporters on Twitter support the nomination of the neurosurgeon from Detroit.
For example, Brian Fraser from the Pacific Northwest tweeted: "#BenCarson would be perfect 2 run HUD."
#TrumpCabinet"We cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities." ~ .@realBenCarson: #BenCarson would be perfect 2 run HUD pic.twitter.com/jZOCkCLrLS— Brian Fraser (@bfraser747) November 23, 2016
Accepting the cabinet position would mark a significant departure from Carson's attitude just last weekend when he told Fox News his "preference is to be outside [of the incoming administration] and to act as an adviser."
Days before that, a spokesman for the retired pediatric neurosurgeon said Carson "feels he has no government experience" because he's "never run a federal agency" and was hesitant to accept a position "that could cripple the presidency," despite allegedly being offered any position he wanted.
But Carson backpedaled after a meeting at Trump Tower with the president-elect on Tuesday.
"It certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine and I'll be thinking and praying about it seriously over the holiday," Carson, a Trump loyalist, said of the HUD secretary position.
Aides to the president-elect told reporters Wednesday morning that Trump has sought "chemistry, experience [and] a similar vision in what the president-elect and vice president-elect are trying to do" with those he has considered for cabinet-level posts.
Nicole Duran contributed