Neurosurgeon and former rival Ben Carson is Trump’s HUD nominee

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Ben Carson listens to a question from a reporter during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/File Photo - RTSUQQB

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JUDY WOODRUFF: The death toll keeps rising in that warehouse fire in Oakland, California, to at least 36. The building erupted into flames Friday night during a dance party. Search efforts resumed today amid charred debris, after workers were given time to shore up one of the weakened walls.

JOHNNA WATSON, Spokeswoman, Oakland Police Department: The search resumed approximately 9:00 a.m. this morning, yes. So work does continue inside the building. They continue to be very careful, very tedious, very mindful. This scene is being managed with a lot of care and a lot of thought.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Oakland fire is now the deadliest building fire in the U.S. in more than 10 years. We will take a closer look at how the community is coping with the disaster right after the news summary.

Team Trump has added another Cabinet nominee. Dr. Ben Carson has been selected as the choice to oversee the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage of today’s transition news.

LISA DESJARDINS: Early in the GOP primaries, Ben Carson was Donald Trump’s closest competition. Now he’s the pick as housing chief.

The two became allies after Carson left the race, and, in September, with Carson showed the nominee the Detroit home where he was raised by a single mom. Last month, Carson said that background would inform his work, should he become housing and urban development secretary:

DR. BEN CARSON, Vice Chair, Trump Transition Team: Well, I know that I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there, and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area, and recognize that we cannot have a strong nation if we have weak inner cities.

LISA DESJARDINS: Carson, of course, is known as a former neurosurgeon. He has no government experience, but has commented on housing policy before, including criticism of an Obama era requirement that cities report racial bias in public housing. And he’s slammed public assistance programs in general.

DR. BEN CARSON: I’m really interested in getting rid of dependency, and I want us to find a way to allow people to excel in our society.

(APPLAUSE)

LISA DESJARDINS: Today, President-elect Trump called Carson “a brilliant mind passionate about strengthening communities.”

But the Democratic minority leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi, called him a “disconcerting and disturbingly unqualified choice.”

Also today, a surprise face at Trump Tower, former Vice President Al Gore. He was scheduled to discuss climate change with Ivanka Trump, but her newly elected father joined in.

AL GORE, Former Vice President of the United States: The bulk of the time was with President-elect Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued.

LISA DESJARDINS: Contrast that with tomorrow, when the President-elect Trump is scheduled to meet with Rex Tillerson. The CEO of ExxonMobil has been a target of climate change activists. He’s now being mentioned as possible contender for secretary of state.

In the meantime, some changes for the president-elect’s family. CNN reports that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both part of the transition team, are planning to move from New York to D.C.

Also in New York today, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, speaking in favor of recounts in key states like Michigan, where a judge overnight ordered a recount to start today.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

JUDY WOODRUFF: There was also more fallout from the president-elect’s phone call with the president of Taiwan. The White House today reaffirmed U.S. support for the one-China policy that says Taiwan is part of China.

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