Dec 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Ben Carson makes plans for his post-Trump life

Ben Carson
Ben Carson addresses last summer's Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has told confidants he wants to start a think tank after President Trump leaves office next month.

Why it matters: Carson's planning signals his private recognition of what many Trump loyalists won't say publicly: Donald Trump will not serve a second term — at least not consecutively. The secretary has not publicly acknowledged Joe Biden's election win but is preparing for a future outside the federal government.

Background: Carson, a neurosurgeon by trade who competed with Trump for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination, wants to start an organization that will promote Trump's policies and foster bipartisan dialogue, a source in his inner circle told Axios.

  • It's unclear how any such group would be funded or mesh with any entity Trump launches in exile. The closest the source came to defining policy focuses was to say it would include "increasing self-sufficiency" and "promoting religious freedom."

Another focus: Carson wants to "heal the wounds of divisiveness," the source said.

  • It would be a very tall order indeed, as Trump's unstinting efforts to create and exacerbate such wounds show no sign of abating.
  • Just this week, the president retweeted a missive saying two Georgia Republican officials who acknowledged Biden's win will shortly be going to jail.

Be smart: As much as Carson may plan for his future or show fealty to Trump in the process, he can't forget the president lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week for saying publicly that Biden — not him — will be inaugurated as president next month.

Go deeper