The diversity of President Obama’s second-term Cabinet, which has been taking shape in recent weeks, has been getting plenty of scrutiny. So much so, in fact, that it was the subject of one of just seven questions asked of the president during Monday’s news conference. “I’m very proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse White House and Cabinet than any in history, and I intend to continue that,” the president said. He urged critics not to “rush to judgment” until the full slate of new nominations came together.
The defense came in response to multiple critiques of the way the new Cabinet is taking shape. Some say it’s too insular, with usual suspects rather than a team of rivals, and thus is positioned to offer the president little more than a “yes-man” response. Others have said it’s too white, as the top ranks fill with white advisers — and as figures like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (the first Latin American female Cabinet member), Lisa Jackson (the African-American head of the Environmental Protection Agency) and Energy Secretary Steven Chu (the Asian-American scientist who has won the Nobel Prize) either resign or are expected to do so.