January 19, 2017
By Catherine Garcia
If all of Donald Trump's top nominees are confirmed, his Cabinet will be the first since 1988 to not have any Hispanic members.
On Wednesday night, transition officials said that Trump has tapped former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to head the Agriculture Department. There were several Latinos under consideration for the position, including former Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas); Abel Maldonado, who briefly served as California lieutenant governor; and Elsa Murano, a former undersecretary for food safety. Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, told The Dallas Morning News that considering Hispanics make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, this underrepresentation is unacceptable: "By not including Latinos in the Cabinet, he is just showing how he is planning to govern." Trump, who started his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and promising to make Mexico pay for a border wall, received only 18 percent of the vote among Hispanics.
In 1988, Ronald Reagan picked Lauro Cavazos, a Democrat from Texas, to be education secretary, making him the first Latino Cabinet member. Every president since has had at least one Hispanic Cabinet member at all times. There is some diversity among the Cabinet picks — Ben Carson (housing secretary) is black, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (U.N. ambassador) is Indian-American, and Elaine Chao (transportation secretary) is Taiwanese-American. Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump is more concerned about seeking out "the best and brightest to fill out his Cabinet."
Source: The Week