Congressional Black Caucus 'disappointed' in Obama's Cabinet picks
March 11th, 2013
05:04 PM ET
1 year ago

Congressional Black Caucus 'disappointed' in Obama's Cabinet picks

(CNN) - Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed concern in a letter to President Barack Obama over the lack of African Americans among his new Cabinet picks.

"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, D-Ohio, wrote. "Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you've received from the African American community."

The president faced criticism at the beginning of the year when he picked white males for some of the highest spots in the administration, including secretary of state, treasury secretary, defense secretary and chief of staff (the latter of which has the status of Cabinet-rank).

White House staff, however, said Obama was not finished with his cabinet picks.

"His Cabinet when he's finished – and he's far from finished – will have diversity including women, including people of color," Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CNN's chief national correspondent John King and chief political analyst Gloria Borger from the White House on Inauguration Day.

None of his appointees since then, however, have been African American, Fudge notes. Obama has chosen contenders for secretary of energy and secretary of the interior. And CNN reported Saturday that Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department's civil rights division, will be nominated to be the next secretary labor secretary.

His choices for other administration posts that have Cabinet rank are also not African American. Those include his picks for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of Management and Budget.

"You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet," Fudge wrote in the letter. "However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country's diversity."

Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk are the two African Americans who now sit on the Cabinet. Both were nominated during the president's first term.

Fudge argued the lack of "diverse voices leads to policies and programs that adversely impact African Americans," adding that she was disappointed that none of the CBC's recommendations for Cabinet picks have "received the consideration they deserve."

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Ellen

    When will the Black Caucus and the black community wake up and smell the coffee........Obama only uses you just like he uses everyone else. When he's done and you're no longer useful to him, he'll throw you under the bus. Seems to me you folks would have figured that out by now. If you have any doubt, just ask Oprah.

    March 11, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. The Elephant in the Room

    I`ve cut the President many breaks before but it is time for him to act in a manner similar to any other President that has won re-election. First, take the gloves off and stop placating the peanut gallery critics. I want two African American liberals named to the Supreme Court and the Federal judiciary stocked. I want the pipeline of secretaries and undersecretaries of cabinet departments chocked full of African Americans & latinos so that the obvious, most experienced choices for a 2016 & 2020 Democratic Admistration are people of color. I want the next Deval Patrick, the next Cory Booker groomed.

    March 11, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. TX-women

    98% vote for Obama's reelection and look want we get 100% white males in administration. He will need the AA/Blacks and other minorities again - watch out! There are qualified minorities in American.

    March 11, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. rla

    Who cares! This bunch has run their people into the ground, made their cities unsafe and after decades of power the black community is worse off than ever - What a bunch of phonies!

    March 11, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. jpmichigan

    Well, I am not surprised at Obama's picks. Louis Farraknhann should be happy , his new Black Panther boys were protected by the one chose for Labor Sect.

    March 11, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. 2012liberal

    Qualified ppl! That's what is needed. Not skin or gender. Get qualified. I want quality ppl. More of a reason for education. Get educated!

    March 11, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. phearis

    I'm more interested in qualifications and what they can do for this country, rather than the colour of their skin.

    March 11, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. cat sighting

    The Elephant in the Room....I want to win the lottery, I want my dad to alive again, I want to a county without any liberals in it.

    March 11, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. patricia Elam

    No Liberals in the Supreme Court, not qualified,

    March 11, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Wes

    What a bunch of racists.

    March 11, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. OH_DEM

    To those at at the CBC, how dare you open your mouths now when you failed to do speak up during the high-profiled and unwarranted attacks on Susan Rice, President Obama's first choice for Secretary of State, arguably the most important Cabinet position and ranks fourth in the line of succession to the presidency. Where were you then? When Chuck Hagel came under intense fire, his supporters stood by his side. But when Susan Rice came under fire for matters that were completely out of her control, why didn't the CBC speak up then and rally to her defense? Your failure of leadership then forfeits your right to complain now.

    March 11, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Tim

    Everyone is disappointed in Obama's cabinet picks. He continues to appoint completely unqualified people.

    March 11, 2013 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    Pathetic of these guys.

    March 11, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. hornetbut

    skin color is the agenda of the black cacus...not who is best...they are whats wrong with government...pathedic..race only ..one track mind ..jerks

    March 11, 2013 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Babyboomer

    I don't know how to feel about this actually. Part of me wants to see more AA's in these roles and part of me just wants the best qualified person. Unfortunately, because historically we don't have the experience required (due to a number of reason, most of which aren't our own doing.) we will likely not get the appointments. What a vicious cycle we live in...

    March 11, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. yane

    the black caucas have no relevance... how long have most of them been in congress and what have they done for black people...?

    March 11, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Get Real

    Why on earth should it matter if white males are getting appointed to these positions? Obama has done what is right. He appointed those whom he believed were best suited to the job, independent of racial issues. Race should never play a part in selecting someone for a job. Quality is what is needed.

    March 11, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. USwatcher

    Congressional Black Caucus...the name itself...sounds racist...as racist sounding as the Congressional White Caucus.

    March 11, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. don

    yada yada yada. Moving on...

    March 11, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. Grendel

    I agree with 2012 Liberal. There are positions that need qualifications, not affirmative action...sorry if that displeases the Black Caucus, but then again, the positions aren't all filled yet. We'll see.

    March 11, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. Jane white

    His president for all and smh

    March 11, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. amf140

    Well have the guts to stand up to him. Nobody else in the Democratic Party or the mainstream media will. He hasn't done anything for your people in 5 years.

    March 11, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. me

    maybe when they oofer a QALFIED person for those positions Skiin color does not make oone qualified

    March 11, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw Shucks Mz Fudge
    Rumor has it Obama is going to nominate Ber Rabbit for Secetary of the Briar Patch. And also Evil Eye Fleegle for Minister of the Exterior. Now that should make you happy.

    March 11, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Keith Harvey

    Maybe the President has decided to select the most qualified people for these positions. Unfortunately, at this point a person of color has not been the most qualified for the positions selected. It's refreshing to see an appointment to a position with a greater emphasis on performance rather than cultural diversity.....I guess one could alway threaten to file a lawsuit. That seems to be the trend when somone doesn't get what they want.

    March 11, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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