Give President Barack Obama a break. He deserves time to complete his Cabinet appointments.
The president was forced to defend his record on diversity Monday after Democrats started lining up to criticize Obama for appointing too many white men to his Cabinet and not selecting enough women and people of color to his inner circle.
When Obama named Jack Lew as his Treasury secretary last week — the fourth white male he has named to Cabinet-level posts in recent weeks – Democrats quickly took Obama to the woodshed for not assembling a more racially-diverse and gender-diverse Cabinet.
But in a White House press conference Monday, Obama said his critics should not rush to judgment.
“I’m very proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse, White House and a Cabinet than any in history,” Obama said. “I intended to continue that, because it turns out when you look for the very best people, given the incredible diversity of this country, you’re going to end up with a diverse staff.”
Since Obama beat Mitt Romney 55 percent to 43 percent among women, many feel that Obama has missed several opportunities with appointments the past two weeks. But Obama said women comprised 50 percent of his White House staff during his first four years in office – a successful record on diversity by any standard.
“We’re not going backwards, we’re going forward,” the president said.
But the cynics are relentless – and some are black Democrats.
“It’s embarrassing as hell,” New York Democrat Charles Rangel, one of the most senior black members of Congress, said of Obama’s recent appointments. Rangel, who has never been one of Obama’s biggest supporters, said Democrats expect more from America’s first black president.
“We’ve been through all of this with Mitt Romney,” Rangel said during an appearance on MSNBC last week. “And we were very hard on Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things.”
“I kinda think there’s no excuse when it’s the second term. If it’s the first term, you could see people got to know who is around and qualified in order to get this job, number one,” he added.