Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett on Sunday predicted more minorities and women would be tapped for positions in the president’s Cabinet.
“His Cabinet, when he's finished — and he's far from finished — will have diversity, including women, including people of color,” said Jarrett in an interview with CNN.
The White House has faced scrutiny over an alleged lack of diversity among President Obama’s top advisers, prompted by a New York Times report earlier this month questioning the “all-male look” of Obama’s inner circle. A photo accompanying the report showed Obama consulting a number of white men.
Those questions have intensified with Obama’s senior-most Cabinet nominations, including former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for Defense secretary, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for secretary of State and Chief of Staff Jack Lew for Treasury secretary.
Those nominations have come amid a number of high-profile second-term exits of female Cabinet members, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
In a press conference last week, Obama rejected charges that he had neglected diversity, saying that he was “proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse, White House and a Cabinet than any in history.”
Obama said his critics should “wait until they've seen all my appointments, who is in the White House staff and who is in my Cabinet, before they rush to judgment."
On Sunday, Jarrett said that the president had a strong track record of appointing women to key positions in his administration.
“The president has been surrounded by strong women throughout his entire life. Raised by a single mom, lived for a while with his grandmother, who was a great role model for him. Obviously, married to a very competent wife, and his first Cabinet reflected the diversity of our country,” said Jarrett. “He put women in charge of key initiatives, such as Nancy Ann DeParle, his deputy chief of staff, who helped craft the Affordable Care Act, and now Kathleen Sebelius is implementing it.”