By Jonathan Easley - 03/11/13 09:16 PM EDT
The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus said she is concerned that President Obama has not yet appointed African-Americans to his second-term Cabinet.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said Obama's appointees do not reflect the nation's diverse population — at least, so far.
“I am concerned that you have moved forward with new cabinet appointments and yet, to date, none of them have been African American,” her letter to Obama states. “You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet. However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity.”
“Congressional Black Caucus offices have had numerous phone calls from constituents questioning why none of the new appointees will be able to speak to the unique needs of African Americans,” Fudge continued. “Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you’ve received from the African American community. As you continue choosing your critical advisors, we want to stress the importance of ensuring every community has a seat at the table. The absence of diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African Americans.”
Attorney General Eric Holder, appointed in Obama’s first term, remains the Obama administration’s only black Cabinet-level appointee. According to a Politics365 analysis released last week, that’s the fewest by any president over the last 38 years.
Earlier this year, the White House faced scrutiny over an alleged lack of diversity among Obama’s inner circle. 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.
Senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett had predicted more minorities and women would be tapped for positions in the president’s Cabinet.