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Trump's cabinet is far from reflecting the racial diversity of the United States

The cabinet has no Hispanics, even though Latinos are the biggest minority in the United States. African Americans lost the ground they gained under President Barack Obama, with one cabinet post compared to five in the Obama cabinet.
23 Ene 2017 – 04:01 PM EST

With a large white majority, just one African American and no Hispanics at all, President Donald Trump's cabinet is far from reflecting the racial diversity of the United States.

Whites make up 86.4 percent of the cabinet that Trump, a businessman turned politician, will have to trust on critical issues, followed by Asians at 9.1 percent. One seat remains to be filled – head of the Council of Economic Advisers, viewed as less important compared to an inner circle made up of the secretaries of state, defense and treasury and the attorney general.

Congress has yet to approve 23 Trump nominees.

Two facts stand out from the Trump cabinet. It is the first without a single Hispanic since President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in 1981, even though Latinos have been the fastest growing minority since then. And it reflects the worst setback for African-Americans from one administration to the next since the 1980s.

An overwhelmingly white cabinet

Trump selected 19 whites for his cabinet, meaning it will be 86.4 percent white even though whites make up 61.5 percent of the U.S. population.

If the new president's cabinet were to reflect the racial diversity of the United States, it would have 14 whites, four Hispanics (17.6 percent of the population) three African Americans (12.3 percent) and one Asian (5.3 percent).

The cabinet's inner circle is totally white, with Rex Tillerson nominated to head the State Department, Steven Mnuchin nominated for Treasury and Jeff Sessions nominated as attorney general. James Mattis was confirmed last week as secretary of defense.

African Americans headed some of the key departments in previous administrations. Colin Powell was the first to head the Department of State, under President George W. Bush, and Eric Holder was the first to be named attorney general, under Obama in 2009.

A lack of Hispanics

At least one Hispanic was appointed to each cabinet since Reagan walked into the White House in 1981. Reagan put Michael Cárdenas at the head of the Small Business Administration in March of that year, and in 1988 named Lauro Cavazos as secretary of education.

Hispanics were ignored in the Trump cabinet even though Latinos have been the fastest growing population group in the United States and today account for 17.6 percent of the total. At the time Reagan was president, for example, Hispanics made up 6.5 percent of the population, according to the 1980 census.

A strong setback for African-Americans

With just one African American – Ben Carson, nominated to head the Housing and Urban Development Department – Trump's cabinet has the smallest African-American representation since President George H.W. Bush's cabinet in 1989, which also had only one.

It was the worst decline for African-Americans in the cabinet since 1981, plunging from 21.7 percent in President Barack Obama's first cabinet to a tiny 4.5 percent under Trump.

Although Powell and Holder held key posts in the cabinet, no African American has ever served at the head of the departments of Defense or Treasury, the lead roles in U.S. security and economy.

Women are still minorities

Women also came out losers in the Trump Cabinet, with 18.2 percent of the jobs compared to 30.4 percent in Obama's first cabinet. All cabinets since at least Reagan have been disproportionately male, however, with men holding from 70 percent to 91 percent of the seats.

Trump nominated Elaine Chao to head Transportation and Betsy DeVos to head Education, Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations and Linda McMahon as director of the Small Business Administration.

No woman will sit in the inner circle of the cabinet, however. Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state under Obama, and Janet Reno served as attorney general under President Bill Clinton.

Source: The White House and U.S. Census Bureau.


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