The Latino community is outraged that Donald Trump is set to become the first U.S. president to exclude a Hispanic American from the U.S. Cabinet in decades. Trump, who has a history of making inflammatory attacks against Latinos and immigrants, announced Thursday morning that he has nominated former Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia as his pick for the agriculture secretary, which was the last open Cabinet position. This marks the first time since 1988 that not one Hispanic was nominated for a Cabinet-level appointment.
In response, Hispanic groups and leaders voiced concerns about Trump’s white, male-dominated Cabinet.
“We’re extremely worried,” Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, told The Dallas Morning News. “This is anti-democratic.”
“Trump has not only been the most anti-Latino, anti-immigrant president in the history of the nation, [but] by not including Latinos in his Cabinet, he is just showing how he plans to govern.”
Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, said Trump’s Cabinet picks prove he is out of touch with Hispanic leaders.
“The most obvious thing it means to me is that he doesn’t know Latinos,” Vargas told The Dallas Morning News. “He himself and his team don’t know who the Latino leaders are. What this does is it makes our job as advocates for the Hispanic community infinitely harder.”
Likewise, National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murguía released a statement calling the lack of Latino Cabinet representation “an embarrassment.”
In a news conference, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s decision to exclude Latinos from his Cabinet, despite the fact that they make up the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the country. Spicer argued that Americans should be more concerned about the President-elect choosing “the best and the brightest.”
He also claimed that the controversial billionaire’s Cabinet is diverse despite the fact that it consists of all Republicans, three women, and one African American man, Dr. Ben Carson.
Watch a clip of Spicer defending the lack of Hispanic secretaries below.