In a somewhat surprising Facebook message, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sought to explain to her constituents why she voted yesterday to approve the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The senator, who was a tireless critic of Donald Trump during the presidential campaign and has continued to speak out against his policies since he took the presidential office, acknowledged having “serious, deep, profound concerns about Dr. Carson’s inexperience” in running a federal agency, adding that she also rejected “many of the outrageous things that Dr. Carson said during his presidential campaign.” But she added that after receiving his answers to a series of written questions that she sent him, she was willing to give the retired neurosurgeon a chance in his new role as housing policy chief, albeit with some skepticism.
“At his hearing, he committed to track and report on conflicts of interest at the agency,” Warren wrote. “In his written responses to me, he made good, detailed promises, on everything from protecting anti-homelessness programs to enforcing fair housing laws. Promises that—if they’re honored—would help a lot of working families. Can we count on Dr. Carson to keep those promises? I don’t know. People are right to be skeptical; I am. But a man who makes written promises gives us a toehold on accountability. If President Trump goes to his second choice, I don’t think we will get another HUD nominee who will even make these promises—much less follow through on them.”
Yet the senator promised to be a tough critic of the HUD nominee. “If Dr. Carson doesn’t follow through on his commitments, I will be the very first person he hears from—loudly and clearly and frequently,” she added. “I didn’t hesitate to criticize past HUD Secretaries when they fell short, and I won’t hesitate with Dr. Carson—not for one minute.”
It is uncertain why Warren decided to write this. Although she cited a need to “turn up the heat” on other Trump Administration cabinet nominations, this is the first time that she has offered any public voice of support for a Trump Administration request.