Of The Last Three Presidents, who put More Blacks at the Top?
By Moses Kamuiru.
By being in the President’s Cabinet means that you have the power to oversee budgets worth billions of dollars thousands of jobs. President Obama had appointed Attorney General Eric Holder at the end of his first term which is a top level cabinet position. At the time, Holder oversaw a budget of 27 billion dollars and over 111,000 employees after Obama appointed him to be the first African-American attorney general in History. Obama also appointed Blacks to the positions of the US Trade Representative, United Nations Ambassador and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Although these appointees do not sit in the President’s 15 member cabinet, all the three appointments are top ranking positions often referred to as Cabinet Level Positions. Lisa Jackson was hired as the EPA Administrator, Susan Rice as the UN Ambassador and Ron Kirk as the US Trade Representative.
President George W. Bush
When he assumed office in 2001, President Bush appointed three members of his cabinet of African American descent. He Nominated the First Black American Secretary of state Colin Powell and the first black National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. Eric Holder was then serving as Attorney General in an acting capacity and continued to serve for several months. Bush would later nominate former U.S Senator John Ashcroft for the Attorney General’s position as he had no intention of appointing Holder. The President also appointed Alphonso Jackson as his Housing and Urban Development Secretary and Rod Paige as the Education Secretary. For the eight years Bush was in the White House, he appointed six African Americans to top positions in his cabinet. President Bush would later appoint Condoleezza Rice as his Secretary of State and do something that only one other President (Clinton) had done before; appoint two African Americans in a row to a cabinet position.
President Bill Clinton
After taking office in 1993, President Clinton appointed five African Americans to his cabinet. He appointed Ron Brown as secretary of commerce, Jesse Brown as the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Mike Espy as the Secretary of Agriculture and Hazel O’Leary as the Secretary of Energy. He also appointed Lee Brown as his Drug Czar who was a cabinet level position in 1993 although it no longer has that status today.
The Five Clinton Appointments
President Clinton’s five cabinet appointments of Black Americans represented a first in the history of the United States and the biggest number of African Americans in top ranking positions up until that time. Never before had a Black American held the four cabinet positions of Energy, Veteran Affairs, Agriculture, and Commerce previously. During his tenure at the White House, Clinton would appoint four more African Americans to his cabinet. He appointed Rod Slater as his secretary of Transportation, Togo West as Secretary of Veteran Affairs and, Alexis Herman as his secretary of labor. Franklin Raines was named Director of Office of Management and Budget. In total. President Clinton Appointed 9 Blacks to top ranking positions before leaving office.
There is an ongoing discussion regarding Black