Media Surprise? Donald Trump’s Cabinet is Ethnically Diverse

By Dustin Siggins Published on November 30, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has been criticized by many liberal pundits and media outlets for choosing white men in his early Cabinet and other top picks. That has changed in recent days, as Trump has named former George W. Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to head the Department of Transportation, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to be his United Nations Ambassador and billionaire education choice advocate Betsy Devos to head the Department of Education.

Trump is also rumored to be considering Dr. Ben Carson, a former primary opponent, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Sheriff David Clarke to lead the Department of Homeland Security. 

Chao was born in Taiwan, and is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Trump has already proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to create jobs and upgrade America’s transportation system. McConnell previously described that as a low priority for the Senate in 2017; the plan faces opposition among fiscal conservatives who don’t want to increase America’s $19 trillion-plus debt.

Clarke is a black sheriff popular among conservatives for his outspoken support for police, and his opposition to Black Lives Matter. Carson, a conservative, is a black surgeon who briefly headed the GOP’s 17-person primary race for the White House. 

Haley, who is of Indian descent, was critical of Trump during the GOP presidential primary, and received some condemnation from conservatives in her state when she backed removing the Confederate Flag from the state Capitol building. She is widely considered a conservative, however, and supports policies to protect the unborn, toughen immigration laws and lower taxes. 

Devos founded the American Federation for Children, a non-profit dedicated to numerous education reforms prioritized by conservatives. She has been criticized for being on an education board that backed Common Core, though she Tweeted that she opposes the program.

The diversification after Trump picked white men as top White House advisers and other top positions did not go unnoticed by critics. The New York Times noted the ethnic and gender change on November 23, even as an article on the subject informed readers that “none of these choices suggest a president-elect who is reaching beyond reliably conservative precincts to fill his administration.” 

Some of the picks have also been criticized for not fitting into typical molds for Cabinet members. Haley, for example, has little foreign policy experience. Conversely, Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health & Human Services is Dr. Tom Price, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, a longtime medical professional and health care policymaker. Likewise, Trump announced on Tuesday morning his pick of health care CEO Seema Verma to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Another non-white female adviser, Verma has worked with governors in several states to enact health care reform efforts, prominently including, but not limited to, Indiana and Kentucky. 

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