With Wednesday night’s announcement from a Trump transition official that the president-elect has chosen ex-Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to head up the Agriculture Department in his administration, the incoming president made some history – for all the wrong reasons.
For the first time in nearly 30 years, there will be no Hispanic members in the president’s cabinet. One by one, Trump filled his cabinet without any attempt to appoint Hispanics to one of the positions. His final pick of Perdue seals the deal that none will hold any of the key posts.
The first Latino appointed to a president’s cabinet came in 1988 during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and continued to serve in George H. W. Bush’s administration after Reagan left office. Each of the three presidents that followed – Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama – have each appointed at least one Hispanic member to their respective cabinets.
That will end on Friday when Trump officially takes office surrounded by potential cabinet members that are largely lacking in diversity.
As expected, advocacy groups from across the country are reacting harshly to the news.
“We’re extremely worried. This is anti-democratic,” said Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, according to the Dallas Morning News. “By not including Latinos in the Cabinet he is just showing how he is planning to govern.”
As disappointing as Trump’s appointments have been, they’re also unsurprising.
After all, Trump launched his presidential campaign with a speech that denigrated Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” He has repeatedly vowed to build a wasteful wall on the southern border and promises to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants that are already living in the country.
His decision to not include members of this growing demographic in his cabinet suggest that he plans to govern in the same way that he campaigned for a year and a half – without an emphasis on inclusion or any acknowledgment that America is an increasingly diverse place.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.