Congressional Black Caucus 'disappointed' in Obama's Cabinet picks
March 11th, 2013
05:04 PM ET
2 years 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. Bulldog

    They should be disappointed. It is somewhat disgracefull.

    March 11, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Getoverit

    @TX-women
    98% vote for Obama’s reelection and look want we get 100% white males in administration.
    ----------
    Yep. Too bad you didn't see that coming before you voted for him....

    March 11, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. ncmyk

    why are they blaming obama – look at the GOP for throwing susan rice off the cliff.

    March 11, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  4. LIP

    George W. Bush actually did a better job at diversity and no one, to include the Black Caucus said squat.
    Besides, just because they all voted for him so he would be President, doesn't necessarily guarantee he will bend over for them. I noticed the picks he made and I am white and wondered if anyone, to include CNN, would say anything at all and they didn't...it came down to the Black Caucus to bring it to the forefront.

    March 11, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  5. BlackConservative

    Who cares what race the cabinet members are?! That's what wrong with blacks. Pulling this crap like complaining about the lack of blacks in the cabinet is setting our race back again and again. Get over it.

    You should be more concerned with whether the cabinet members are qualified.

    March 11, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. groinksan

    Exactly how would a Secretary of State and a CIA director address "unique needs of African Americans?" The more these minority groups treat themselves as unique, the further away they're going to get to being equal with everyone else.

    Unless of course their goal is to be unique, so that they can reap the benefits of being unique.

    March 11, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Um, I am guessing Rep. Marcia Fudge is NO Maxine Waters. My respect for the Congressional Black Caucus is on the upswing already.

    Now, now, don't be intimidated by the Bully-in-Chief and HIS Little Bullies!!!

    March 11, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. pjoe

    It will be a good day when the Congressional Black Caucus meets for the last time. Until we get beyond the politics of race, we will remain a divided and weak country.

    March 11, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. Feed Up

    Come on people, wake up and say hello to the real world. Who obama picks has nothing to do with who's best for you, me or the country. It has nothing to do with color or qualifications. It has everything to do with who he believes will do everything the way HE wants plain and simple. When it comes to color SHAME ON YOU. The only things that should matter are true qualifications and the willingness and the strength to stand up for whats TRULY right for this country.

    March 11, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. waiting42k16

    Maybe the Pres just decided to hire who he thought was the best qualified. Why does race always need to be an issue ?

    March 11, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  11. Feed Up

    Come on people, wake up and say hello to the real world. Who obama picks has nothing to do with who's best for you, me or the country. It has nothing to do with color or qualifications. It has everything to do with who he believes will do everything the way HE wants plain and simple. When it comes to color SHAME ON YOU. The only things that should matter are true qualifications and the willingness and the strength to stand up for whats TRULY right for this country. God Help America.

    March 11, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  12. Andrew

    how diverse is the black caucus? How many whites are on their board??!

    March 11, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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