NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Campaign 2016 rival Ben Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Trump’s decision, announced early Monday morning by his transition office, comes as the real estate mogul continues a series of interviews, meetings with aides and other deliberations aimed at forming his administration.

In a statement, Trump said he’s “thrilled to nominate” Carson, saying he “has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.”

“Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up,” Trump said.

In the statement, Carson said he is “honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration.”

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need,” he said. “We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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