With the naming of Jack Lew for secretary of the treasury, President Obama has now nominated four men to key Cabinet posts since his re-election, causing some to criticize the administration for a lack of diversity.
Earlier this week, Obama named Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as secretary of defense and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He previously appointed Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to be secretary of state.
Since the election, three women have announced their departure from the Cabinet: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
Rep Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., said it was “embarrassing as hell” that the Obama administration is under fire for its lack of diversity.
“We’ve been through all of this with Mitt Romney. And we were very hard on Mitt Romney with his ‘women binder’ and a variety of things. And I kind of think there’s no excuse when it’s the second term,” he said on MSNBC.
Criticism for Obama’s boys’ club was further fueled by The New York Times’ decision to run on its front page a Dec. 29 photo showing the president meeting with a group of all-male senior advisors. Well, almost all-male; the paper did report in the caption that Valerie Jarrett’s leg was visible behind one of the men.
The White House has adamantly defended the administration’s diversity. “Women are well-represented in the president’s senior staff here,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday. “Two of the three deputy chiefs of staff are women. The White House counsel is a woman. A woman runs homeland security for this country, Secretary Napolitano… The Cabinet secretary in charge of the most important piece of domestic policy legislation in a generation is a woman, Kathleen Sebelius.”
Roughly 43 percent of the president’s appointees have been women – considerably more than the 33 percent of President George W. Bush’s appointees who were women. And President Obama has appointed two women to the Supreme Court.
To further underscore their point, the administration conveniently released a picture of the president meeting with a co-ed group of advisors in the Oval Office as the White House “Photo Of The Day.”