*Black lawmakers and activists are giving the side-eye to President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks, as so far, only two Black Americans have been chosen.
As reported by The Hill, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has been tapped as the next ambassador to the United Nations, and Cecilia Rouse will chair the Council of Economic Advisers. Several Cabinet positions must still be filled, and these two women are reportedly the only Black members. Observers say they’re not enough.
Advocates are pressuring Biden because in his first speech as president-elect, he promised Black voters that he’d have their backs. NAACP President Derrick Johnson noted that it’s “early in the process.”
“Some of the appointments you’ve made so far we are pleased with,” Johnson told The Hill. “We have yet to meet with the president-elect, and that is concerning because we are here to support this administration in its effort to be successful.”
Johnson also pointed out that Biden’s transition team lacks members connected to the civil rights community.
“You see many very capable competent individuals who are providing insight and bringing to bear some of their knowledge in [their] subject matter areas, but there [is] no one on the transition team from the civil rights community,” he said.
Biden transition spokesperson Cameron French responded by stressing the president-elect’s goal creating “a diverse administration that looks like America.”
“His campaign and transition both succeeded in this effort,” French told The Hill. “He has announced several historic and diverse White House appointments and cabinet nominees to this point, and his success in finding diverse voices to develop and implement his policy vision to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges will be clear when our full slate of appointees and nominees is complete.”
Biden is reportedly facing significant pressure to fill senior government posts with minority nominees. The focus is on the three still-vacant roles to run the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and Justice.
Meanwhile, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris recently announced their all-female White House communications team. Additionally, Harris will have two Black women on her senior staff. Ashley Etienne will serve as her communications director, and Symone Sanders will be Harris’ senior adviser and chief spokeswoman.
Black lawmakers want a Black person to occupy one of the four big Cabinet positions: Treasury, State, Defense or Justice. Biden has reportedly selected Antony Blinken for secretary of State and Janet Yellen as his choice for Treasury secretary.