If all goes well for President Barack Obama, there will be three African Americans in the president’s White House Cabinet.
Obama will have three black Cabinet members if Congress confirms the nomination of Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation. Foxx will be the first black nominee among Obama’s selections for open spots in his second term.
And Obama’s choice of Foxx couldn’t come at a better time.
Foxx’s nomination takes a bit of heat off of Obama who has been criticized by some black Democrats and activists for failing to appoint more African Americans to top White House jobs. Even some white columnists have called Obama’s administration “too white.”
Presently, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice are the only African Americans in Obama’s Cabinet, but the president is attempting to diversify his Cabinet after Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) wrote Obama a letter scolding him for his lack of racial diversity in the White House and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) called Obama’s appointments of whites “problematic”.
“It’s embarrassing as hell,” said Rangel, one of the most senior black members of Congress. Rangel, who has never been one of Obama’s biggest supporters, said Democrats expect more from America’s first black president. “I kinda think there’s no excuse when it’s the second term. If it’s the first term, you could see people got to know who is around and qualified in order to get this job, number one.”
Back in January, I said Americans should give Obama a break because he deserves time to complete his Cabinet appointments. And now, three months later, Obama is entering his second term in office and Fudge congratulated Obama, saying Foxx was a good choice.
“I am especially pleased the president has appointed Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation,” Fudge said in a statement. “Through his work as mayor and as a city councilman in Charlotte, Anthony addressed the needs of an area that experienced tremendous growth within the past decade. Anthony will surely be an asset to the president’s cabinet and to this nation and I look forward to working with him to ensure the needs of our country’s transportation system are adequately met.”
I suspect Obama isn’t done yet, although scrutiny has been mounting over the number of women and minorities that surrounds the nation’s first black president in his second term. Cabinet members who are departing at the end of his first term — including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — are being replaced largely by white males, including John Kerry, the new Secretary of State.