Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees finalized, first without a Latino member in decades
President-elect Donald Trump's transition team officially announced that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will be his nominee to run the Department of Agriculture on Thursday morning.
Made a day before he formally takes office, the announcement confirms that Trump will have the first Cabinet without any Latino members in nearly 30 years.
Trump's progressive opponents have been quick to criticize the relative lack of diversity of his incoming Cabinet. Trump has nominated only two women: Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education and Elaine Chao to head the Department of Transportation. Chao is also one of the only two people of color on the 15-person Cabinet, the other being Ben Carson, who has been tapped to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sean Spicer addressed the issue of racial diversity during a press conference on Thursday, saying "it's not just about skin color."
Other critics have complained that the Cabinet is made up of many people who have never held or run for elected office, but supporters have suggested that increasing the number of outsiders running the federal government is one of the best ways for Trump to deliver on his "drain the swamp" promise.
"What you're going to see is not just in the Cabinet but in the entire thing is a diversity in gender and a diversity in thinking and a diversity of ideology," Spicer added.
"We're going to have 5,000 positions," Trump's press secretary continued. "So I think you can pick out one subset but when you look at the totality of the diversity and who he's bringing in, I would say that it's probably something to hold up second to none."
Republican President Ronald Reagan became the first president to bring a Latino member into his Cabinet when he nominated Democrat Lauro Cavazos to serve as his Secretary of Education in the final year of his presidency. Cavazos stayed in that role for the first two years of George H. W. Bush's presidency.
Since then, a relatively even number of Latinos have served in Republican (five) and Democratic (seven) Cabinets over the years, according to NPR.