President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a rally at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., Dec. 6, 2016.
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Team Trump touts the ‘diversity’ of his mostly white, male cabinet

In 1992, then-Gov. Bill Clinton came up with a memorable phrase: the Democrat promised voters he’d create a cabinet that “looked like America.” The point, of course, was to assure the public that when it came to policymaking, the Clinton administration would place a high priority on diversity.

It’s a goal Donald Trump doesn’t appear to share.

The Republican president-elect finally wrapped up his cabinet selections yesterday, tapping former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to lead the Department of Agriculture – and like most other members of the Trump cabinet, Perdue is a wealthy, older, white man. This post was Trump’s last choice to pick a Hispanic American for his team, which means the new presidential cabinet will be the first without a Hispanic member in three decades.

During the campaign, Trump was asked if his cabinet will include women, blacks, and Hispanics. “Oh absolutely,” he replied. “It’s so important.”

Evidently, however, Trump doesn’t believe it’s that important. His cabinet will have zero Hispanics, one African-American man, one white woman, and one Asian-American woman. (The number of women grows from two to four if you include Nikki Haley and Linda McMahon, who were chosen for positions that may be considered cabinet-level.)

The funny part, however, was listening to Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary, defend the diversity of Trump’s team. Yahoo News reported this morning:
“Look at the Cabinet. Elaine Chao, Dr. Ben Carson,” he said, motioning to former presidential candidate, who was in the room. “Gov. Nikki Haley, the first Indian-American… The number one thing that Americans should focus on is, is he hiring the best and the brightest?”
First, no, we’ve had a chance to look at the folks Trump has chosen, and they’re not actually the best and the brightest. Second, “the best and the brightest” is a phrase that was intended to be an ironic reference to those responsible for the war in Vietnam.

And third, pointing to a handful of diverse people on the president-elect’s team doesn’t negate the fact that Trump’s cabinet will be dominated by older, white men.

Spicer added, somehow with a straight face, that the “totality of the diversity” in Trump’s cabinet is “second to none.”

Except, that’s foolish. The diversity of Trump’s cabinet isn’t the literal worst – for much of American history, every post in every cabinet was filled with white guys – but the diversity of the incoming president’s cabinet is nevertheless second to many.

Spicer went on to say, “I think you have to look at the totality of diversity which exists within this Cabinet. There are so many ways in which to express this. Both in terms of gender and background, race, ideology. He continues to put together an amazingly diverse cabinet.”

In reality, however, the only “amazing” thing is the lack of diversity in this cabinet.