As president-elect Donald Trump and his transition team slowly begin to assemble leaders of his new administration, several sources, including President of National Low Income Housing Coalition Diane Yentel, say Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is being considered for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary.
According to a Lohud article that ran in late October before Election Day, Bill O’Reilly, a spokesperson for Astorino, stated, “I can only say that I can’t confirm or deny the rumor—and that the County Executive loves his current job.”
Astorino endorsed Trump’s presidential bid in the past, but has been overtly outspoken against his use of flagrant language against minorities and women. Additionally, the conservative County Executive has been in a lengthy legal battle against HUD for some time now, which he has accused of overreaching its power to build affordable housing in Westchester communities.
Trump and Astorino’s relationship goes back 15 years, including shared golf outings. Trump even considered running in the 2014 New York gubernatorial race against Astorino’s political rival Governor Andrew Cuomo, who coincidentally held the HUD secretary position from 1997 to 2001, but dropped the idea when Astorino announced his bid.
Ultimately, there has been no word from Trump or his campaign on the matter, and considering O’Reilly’s statement, there shouldn’t be any expectation to hear anything anytime soon. “He’s been friendly with Mr. Trump for many years, so any private discussions between them need to remain private.”