Ben Carson Forgoes Cabinet Position Because He Believes He Lacks Experience

Ben Carson Donald Trump

Ben Carson has reportedly taken himself out of consideration for a Cabinet position because he doesn’t believe he has enough experience:

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has told President-elect Donald Trump that he isn’t interested in serving as secretary of Health and Human Services, a Carson ally confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday.

Business manager and close friend Armstrong Williams said Carson won’t join the incoming Trump administration and would only serve as an unofficial adviser.

Circa on Tuesday reported that Carson had been offered the position, citing Williams. But Williams told The Hill that no specific offer had been made.

“Dr. Carson was never offered a specific position, but everything was open to him,” Williams told The Hill in a phone call.

“Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

On one level, I have to compliment Dr. Carson on his honesty and his willingness to set aside ambition when he doesn’t believe he’s qualified or prepared for the position. On the other hand, I have to wonder two things:

  1. If this is what Dr. Carson really believes, why did he bother running for President? Obviously, if you don’t have the experience to run a Cabinet Department, you don’t have the experience to be President; and,
  2. If this is true, why did Dr. Carson endorse Donald Trump, who clearly doesn’t have the experience to be President either?

Of course, I doubt anyone he’s inclined to talk to at this point will ask Dr. Carson these questions.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”

    Hands down, the best post-mortem on the Republican candidates in 2016.

    Presidency? No problem, anyone can do it.
    Federal Agency? Are you kidding me?

  2. CSK says:

    Why did Carson run for the presidency?

    1. Vastly increased book sales.

    2. Much bigger fees on the lecture circuit.

    3. Possibly some paid-pundit gigs.

  3. Jc says:

    This is simple. God told him to run for President. God said nothing to him about running a cabinet department.

  4. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    If this is true, why did Dr. Carson endorse Donald Trump, who clearly doesn’t have the experience to be President either?

    Yeah, what the hell does a guy who’s been a CEO for decades have for experience in being the nation’s Chief Executive?

    I mean, it’s not like he’s a failed community organizer and 2/3 term Senator or something…

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    I mean, it’s not like he’s a failed community organizer and 2/3 term Senator or something…

    Nor did he have any experience in filing for 5 business bankruptcies or 2 divorces.

  6. Jenos The Deplorable says:

    @al-Ameda: All those businesses, and only 5 failed? And he actually protected the rest of his businesses from his failures? What. A. Loser.

    And maybe he should have just stayed married to the first wife and tagged everything but second base, like Bill Clinton did.

    Or, maybe, just stayed a Democrat. His various peccadilloes weren’t issues to the left then.

  7. Jc says:

    Jenos, keep drinking that Trump Vodka and eating those Trump Steaks… You may want to throw your name out their for a cabinet position. I hear they are having a hard time finding people and they prefer fanboys such as yourself. Perhaps the Department of Inferior…or Director of red herrings research

  8. CSK says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable:

    Jenos, anyone who could buy the Eastern Airlines shuttle for 10 million, put it out of business in three years, and lose 100 million on the deal may not be the world’s most astute businessman.

    As for Trump Vodka? It debuted in 2005 with a retail price of $100 per 750ml. bottle. This was when the premiere vodkas were selling for $25-$30, tops. Who was going to buy it at that price?

  9. Matt says:

    I wonder if the real reason is because not even Ben Carson wants to be associated with the types that Trump has been floating as possible cabinet members.

    Or maybe it’s just >>> @CSK:

    @CSK: Jenos probably would of and it would of been the bestest vodka EVA

  10. Jen says:

    Being a CEO has absolutely nothing in common with running a government. Mr. Trump will find that out soon enough. New Hampshire had one not too long ago. He lasted one two-year term, and become the first governor in nearly 80 years to only serve one term.

    It’s a vastly different skill set.

  11. KM says:

    If this is what Dr. Carson really believes, why did he bother running for President? Obviously, if you don’t have the experience to run a Cabinet Department, you don’t have the experience to be President;

    Actually, this is a really good question. Trump reportedly was shocked at the extent of Presidential and White House work. The common perception of the President is Ultimate American Authority, not Bureaucrat in Chief like it was intended to be. Perhaps we need to educate the general public and prospective applicants of just what they are getting themselves into BEFORE the electoral circus starts.

    Come for the power, get stuck with the paperwork. It’s a hard job, one that takes a visible toll in a relatively short time. Heavy is the head beneath the crown and all that…..

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jc: That’s the one! Had he won, that would have validated his call from the Lord and God would have given him the wisdom necessary to the task.

    In all seriousness though, I think the real problem is exactly what he described by saying “the last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.” Given that he is to some degree or another driven by a moral compass, taking a position that would cripple the presidency as Secretary of HHS, is not a question of “if” but “when.”

  13. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Running a business and running a government require completely different skill sets.

    Business budgets are guidelines. Governmental budgets are legally binding documents that governments must live within.

    Businesses report their results to shareholders and creditors on a very macro level. Governments must give the suppliers of their funds (grantors, taxpayers) highly detailed and transparent accounting that explains how the funds were used and where they were used.

    Governments must submit not only to financial audits (are the books materially correct?) but to performance audits (are the funds be used effectively and efficiently to attain their intended objective?).

    Governmental and Non-for-Profit Accounting is considered difficult enough by the accounting profession in the US that it is taught as either a senior-level or a graduate-level course that only students that plan to take the CPA Exam are expected to take.

    Most of the provisions related to internal control and transparency that were adopted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as a response to the accounting scandals of Enron, WorldCom, and others were based on best practices that the GAO had implemented years earlier and applied to both the Federal Government and any other entity that took in enough federal funds to be subject to the Yellow Book.

    Finally, Business Administration and Public Administration are considered different enough that they are taught and researched by entirely different areas within academia that generally are not even considered part of the same academic divisions.

    Electing a CEO to run your government because he understands business comes from the same misguided place as asserting that the federal budget needs to be balanced because a household budget needs to be balanced.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    Oh come now, it won’t be so bad having such an illustrious businessman as president…with all of his fabulous skills, he won’t have any problem stiffing so many of America’s creditors…hey, it’s all business, you know…

  15. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Jenos The Deplorable: Trump also managed to bankrupt a casino. A CASINO. Do you have any idea how hard that is?

    (And fugghetabaht Trump’s excuses about his failures about it being due to the general collapse in the economy. People were warning him about the failure modes of his Atlantic City venture even before the casinos were built. Which of course he promptly ignored.)

  16. pylon says:

    Jenos: The available evidence is that Trump is a failure as a businessman. His bankruptcies are a matter of public record. His successes are not in evidence other than his own self-serving descriptions, which he has admitted are made up in his own head. He constantly misrepresents gross revenues as net income in his statements. He adds “publicity” as a bottom line asset when talking about how much a deal was worth. I guess a tax return would help clear things up. But we will never see those.

    What he’s good at is avoiding personal responsibility. Most businessmen whose companies go bankrupt and who have guaranteed the debt go bankrupt themselves. Stiffed a contractor? Why, it was the contractor’s fault – his work wasn’t good. Watch his fraud trial – he will say it wasn’t his fault when staff overpromised.