And then there was one ...
Now that President Obama has formally announced Penny Pritzker as his pick for Commerce Secretary and Michael Froman for U.S. Trade Representative, there’s only a single, lonely vacant slot left for President Obama to fill in his second-term Cabinet — the Cabinet rank job of administrator of the Small Business Administration.
So, now that the band’s nearly altogether, how did he do in terms of maintaining diversity in the exclusive Cabinet club? Not great. And for those who expected more minorities — especially Latinos — not good at all.
Conversely, the number of white men in Cabinet-level jobs increased from eight in the first round to likely 10 in this term.
With the addition of Prizker, there would be seven women holding Cabinet or Cabinet-rank jobs. That’s one fewer than were in his first.
And the addition of Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx, who was nominated last week to be Transportation Secretary, would bring the number of blacks to only three, down from four in the first term.
The ranks of Asian Americans are much slimmer, too, from a high of three in the first term to only one in the second.
In perhaps the biggest problem for Obama, the Latino presence is also taking a hit, despite the support that Hispanics provided Obama in the 2012 election — and their ongoing electoral importance. After the departure of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, there are no Latinos in the Cabinet — though Obama has nominated Tom Perez to replace Solis. So that’s one.
That would not be enough for some Hispanic leaders.
“We believe that Latinos have earned the opportunity to be well represented in the President’s second term,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza. “It would be unacceptable to go from two Cabinet members to just one. While we are disappointed by the pace, the nominations process is not yet done and we fully expect to have at least two Hispanics in the President’s Cabinet.”
Assuming that all the pending nominees — Foxx, Perez, Gina McCarthy for the Environmental Protection Agency, Ernest Moniz for Energy and today’s additions — are confirmed, that brings us back to the Small Business Administrator.
Sources said that Obama had met in the Oval Office last week with a Hispanic woman who was a leading contender — if not the actual pick — for the job. But she ran into some vetting problems and, by Monday, was no longer being considered.
That raises the prospect that the second-term team may include no Latinas, but we’re hearing the White House is committed to filling the job with a Hispanic — and soon.