Senate confirms Ben Carson as HUD secretary - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Senate confirms Ben Carson as HUD secretary

Dr. Ben Carson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. (Source: AP Photo/Zach Gibson) Dr. Ben Carson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. (Source: AP Photo/Zach Gibson)

(RNN) - The U.S. Senate has approved Dr. Ben Carson to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration.

The final vote tally was 58-41. Carson, who was sworn in late Thursday, has no previous government experience.

Carson was once considered the top challenger to Donald Trump in the Republican primaries until the wheels came off his campaign in Iowa. Several key staffers resigned on the eve of the caucuses and he finished a disappointing fourth. He later accused candidate Ted Cruz of sabotaging his campaign by lying to voters and saying that Carson was dropping out of the race.

Trump was merciless in his characterization of Carson as "very low energy" and launched blistering attacks on suspicious stories in Carson's autobiography making the claim that he had once thought about hitting his mother in the head with a hammer and tried to stab a friend in the stomach.

He also mocked Carson for saying in a taped speech that he thought the Egyptian pyramids were built for grain storage by biblical hero Joseph.

But the pair mended their differences and Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, became one of Trump's staunchest supporters as the campaign wore on. Both ran on promises of slashing taxes and replacing Obamacare, and Carson provided a calm counterpoint to Trump's bombast.

Carson reportedly turned down a cabinet position shortly after Trump's election in November, saying he was not qualified. But by Dec. 5 he had apparently changed his mind when Trump announced Carson's nomination as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Detroit native rose from poor surroundings to become director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at age 33. He also was part of cutting edge work on the separation of twins conjoined at the head.

 The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee unanimously approved Carson for the post.  

HUD has 8,300 employees and a budget of $47 billion, according to the Associated Press. 

The GOP controls the Senate by a margin of 52-48.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly