Will President-Elect Donald Trump reverse the trend of high level Cabinet appointments for African Americans?
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Campaign 2016 rival Ben Carson to become Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Carson will oversee an agency with a $47 billion budget.
Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager and confidant, told The Hill “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
Is the United States going backwards with the Cabinet of the United States appointments for African Americans?
As of December 5, 2016, Ben Carson is the only African American selected to be in President-Elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
The United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development position has a history of being one of the most common Cabinet positions where it appears some past U.S. Presidents felt comfortable appointing African Americans.
Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Robert C. Weaver as the first Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 1966. The then new agency was established in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Weaver was the first African American to be appointed to a U.S. Cabinet level position.
Gerald Ford would appoint William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. to serve as the 4th United States Secretary of Transportation, from March 7, 1975 to January 20, 1977. Coleman became the second African American to serve in the Cabinet.
Jimmy Carter appointed Patricia Roberts Harris to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as the first African American woman to serve in the Cabinet and the first African American woman to enter the Presidential line of succession.
Ronald Reagan appointed Samuel Riley Pierce, Jr. as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from January 23, 1981 to January 20, 1989.
George W. Bush appointed Alphonso R. Jackson to serve as the 13th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He would serve from March 31, 2004 to April 18, 2008.
Donald Trump, as of 5 December 2016, has picked 8 of 15 Cabinet department heads so far. All will need Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmation process can begin when the newly elected 115th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 2017 — two weeks before Trump’s inauguration.
Video: President-Elect Donald Trump has chosen Dr. Ben Carson to be in his Cabinet
Video: In late November 2016 Ben Carson opened up about declining a Trump cabinet position
Video: Donald Trump taps Ben Carson for HUD secretary
In order of succession to the Presidency:
|No. Order of succession||Office|
|Speaker of the House of Representatives|
|President pro tempore of the Senate|
|1||Secretary of State|
|2||Secretary of the Treasury|
|3||Secretary of Defense|
|5||Secretary of the Interior|
|6||Secretary of Agriculture|
|7||Secretary of Commerce|
|8||Secretary of Labor|
|9||Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|10||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development|
|11||Secretary of Transportation|
|12||Secretary of Energy|
|13||Secretary of Education|
|14||Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
|15||Secretary of Homeland Security|
African Americans appointed to the United States Cabinet
* The first African American to hold this Cabinet position
Order of succession after: Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President pro tempore of the Senate.
Highest appointment in the Cabinet
Next 4 highest level in succession to the Presidency
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
*First African American to hold this Cabinet position
|10||Robert C. Weaver*||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||1966||Democratic||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|11||William Thaddeus Coleman Jr.*||Secretary of Transportation||1975||Republican||Gerald Ford|
|10||Patricia Roberts Harris||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||1977||Democratic||Jimmy Carter|
|9||Patricia Roberts Harris*||Secretary of Health and Human Services||1979||Democratic||Jimmy Carter|
|10||Samuel Pierce||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||1981||Republican||Ronald Reagan|
|9||Louis Wade Sullivan||Secretary of Health and Human Services||1989||Republican||George H. W. Bush|
|6||Mike Espy*||Secretary of Agriculture||1993||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|7||Ron Brown*||Secretary of Commerce||1993||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|12||Hazel R. O’Leary*||Secretary of Energy||1993||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|14||Jesse Brown*||Secretary of Veterans Affairs||1993||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|8||Alexis Herman*||Secretary of Labor||1997||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|11||Rodney E. Slater||Secretary of Transportation||1997||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|14||Togo D. West Jr.||Secretary of Veterans Affairs||1998||Democratic||Bill Clinton|
|1||Colin Powell*||Secretary of State||2001||Republican||George W. Bush|
|13||Rod Paige*||Secretary of Education||2001||Republican||George W. Bush|
|10||Alphonso Jackson||Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||2004||Republican||George W. Bush|
|1||Dr. Condoleezza Rice||Secretary of State||2005||Republican||George W. Bush|
|4||Eric Holder*||Attorney General||2009||Democratic||Barack Obama|
|11||Anthony Foxx||Secretary of Transportation||2013||Democratic||Barack Obama|
|15||Jeh Johnson*||Secretary of Homeland Security||2013||Democratic||Barack Obama|
|4||Loretta Lynch||Attorney General||2015||Democratic||Barack Obama|
|13||John King Jr.||Secretary of Education||2016||Democratic||Barack Obama|
|2||No African American appointed||Secretary of the Treasury|
|3||No African American appointed||Secretary of Defense|
|5||No African American appointed||Secretary of the Interior|
The current Presidential line of succession, as specified by the United States Constitution and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 as subsequently amended to include newly created cabinet offices.
Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6, Constitution of the United States: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president to serve as acting president temporarily in the case that the president is ill or otherwise temporarily unable to fulfill his or her official duties as president.
The 20th Amendment provides that the vice president-elect becomes president if the president-elect dies before his term starts but after the Electoral College has met.
No Cabinet member may become president unless he or she is over 35 years old and a US citizen.
Numerical order represents the seniority of the Secretaries in the United States presidential line of succession.
Seven vice presidents have died in office. When Harry Truman succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt as president in 1945, the vice presidential office remained vacant for 4 years. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, there was no vice president from November 22, 1963 until Hubert Humphries’ inauguration January 20, 1965.
In 1973, Gerald Ford became the first vice president chosen under the 25th Amendment after Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned.
In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became the 38th President of the United States from 1974 to 1977. Gerald Ford became the first and to date only person to have served as both Vice President and President of the United States without being elected to either office. Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller to be vice president. Rockefeller was the 49th Governor of New York from January 1, 1959 to December 18, 1973 serving four-year terms.
1792 – The Presidential Succession Act passes, making the Senate president pro tempore next in line after the vice president to succeed the president.
1886 – Congress changes the law to put cabinet officers next in line after the vice president. Proponents of the act thought cabinet officers had better experience to serve as president.
1947 – President Harry S. Truman signs the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, changing the line of succession to vice president, then speaker of the House, then Senate president pro tempore.
2003 – Legislation is introduced in the House to reform the line of succession and move the secretary of homeland security from last to eighth behind the attorney general.
2004 – Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) explores reforming the presidential line of succession by removing both the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate, and expanding the list to include the ambassadors to the United Nations and those ambassadors to the four permanent member nations of the United Nations Security Council.
March 9, 2006 – The USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 is signed into law, adding the secretary of homeland security to the line of succession.
In the case that the president can no longer serve, the vice president would serve as president.
If the vice president cannot serve, the line of succession falls to the speaker of the House, then to the Senate president pro tempore, then to Cabinet members.