Rangel: Lack of diversity in Cabinet 'embarrassing as hell'

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Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel says the lack of diversity in President Obama's Cabinet is "embarrassing as hell."


The longtime Democratic House member from New York, whose district includes Harlem, made the comments in an interview on MSNBC. Obama has announced a series of high-profile cabinet nominations in recent days, all of who have been white men.

"It's embarrassing as hell," Rangel said. "You have to do these things because it's the right thing to do as a symbol of what America stands for." 

Obama's last three appointments -- Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), and chief of staff Jack Lew -- are all white men, and the White House has faced criticism after a photo it released earlier in the week provoked The New York Times to point out the "all-male look" of Obama's inner circle. The photo showed Obama meeting with ten advisers, all men. 

The White House said Wednesday a high profile African American and a woman in Obama's cabinet, Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, would stay in their positions for Obama’s second term.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday, responding to the controversial photo, said it was "not reflective of the diversity of the White House staff."

The White House's "photo of the day" on Wednesday prominently featured President Obama meeting with female advisers in the Oval Office.

Rangel's comments reflect the sensitivity of the issue within the Democratic Party.