The decision by Donald Trump to appoint Ben Carson to his Cabinet closes the circle on a very, very weird relationship — and an even weirder flirtation between the two men over the past several weeks.
Carson rose to national fame in 2013 after criticizing President Obama during a National Prayer Breakfast. While that mirrors the way Trump made his political bones (attacking Obama’s eligibility), it seems a bit out-of-character for the former neurosurgeon. Trump is known as a rabble-rouser; Carson is described as “soft-spoken” so regularly that he might as well have written it on a baseball cap and worn it around the country. Carson and Trump were personally different in every possible way save one: Neither had any experience in government service. That was enough to propel Trump into the lead by mid-July 2015 and for Carson to separate himself from the pack by early September.
The two got along at first. In August of that year, Carson said that, sure, he might be willing to consider being Trump’s vice president. The two signed a joint letter in October, asking CNBC to put a hard time limit on a debate the network was hosting. Two outsiders, allied for change.