African-American members of Congress are urging President Obama to name more blacks to his cabinet, reviving a controversy about lack of diversity that has plagued the Obama administration for many months.
Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, made the case in a letter to Obama. "I am concerned that you have moved forward with new cabinet appointments and yet, to date, none of them have been African American," Fudge wrote, referring to Obama's second term.
"You have publicly expressed your commitment to retaining diversity within your cabinet. However, the people you have chosen to appoint in this new term have hardly been reflective of this country's diversity."
Congresswoman Fudge said members of the Congressional Black Caucus have received numerous complaints from constituents that Obama has failed to name enough African-Americans to his government. "Their ire is compounded by the overwhelming support you've received from the African American community," she wrote.
Obama advisers point out that he already has African-American advisers to the top levels of his administration, including senior White House counselor Valerie Jarrett, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.
But as the first African-American president who has promised to make diversity one of his goals in making appointments, Obama has opened himself up to pressure to do more.
Several weeks ago, Obama was criticized for failure to name enough women as senior advisers, which grew especially intense after he named Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.