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Congressional Black Caucus Chair Criticizes Obama’s Lack of Cabinet Diversity

Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said President Barack Obama’s choices for his second-term the lack diversity among the new appointees.

In a letter sent to Obama earlier this month, Fudge accused the President of betraying the African-American community that supports him. Of the President’s new appointments, including new secretaries of state and defense, none are black.

“The people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country’s diversity,” Fudge wrote in the letter. “Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you’ve received from the African-American community.”

There are still several available positions in Obama’s Cabinet, with the departments of Labor, Commerce and Transportation still in need of leadership. The Associated Press reported that Obama will likely name Tom Perez, a Latino civil rights official, to succeed former Labor Department head Hilda Solis. Obama will also need to choose a replacement for departing U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk, who is black.

“I believe we can be stronger, more visible, but I also think we can be more effective if we take our positions beyond Capitol Hill,” Fudge said of the caucus in an interview with The Miami Herald. “We want to make sure that everybody understands that we’re not some group that’s so way out that we can’t fit in the mainstream. We are very mainstream, and I want that message to be told.”

The 43-member CBC gave Obama its support during his first term, but quietly expressed its impatience with the his less than aggressive approach to African-American issues. Though the White House did not respond to Fudge’s letter directly, the administration maintains that diversity is a priority in the President’s appointments, and asked that skeptics wait until all the selections are completed before voicing their criticism.

Though Fudge claims to have had “good conversations” with members of the administration regarding the issues, she said is not ready to relent on her believes

“It is still my expectation that there will be some people of color, particularly African-Americans, in this administration this term. . . I think we’re on the same page,” she told the Herald.

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