Will President-Elect Donald Trump reverse the trend of high level Cabinet appointments for African Americans?

Will President-Elect Donald Trump reverse the trend of high level Cabinet appointments for African Americans?

african-americans-united-states-cabinet

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.”
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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.

Attorney General of the United States: Jeff Sessions
Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross
wilbur-ross

Secretary of Defense: Gen. James Mattis
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Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos
betsy-devos

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Price
tom-price

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson
ben-carson

Secretary of Transportation: Elane Chao
elane-chao

Secretary of Treasury: Steve Mnuchin
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Video: President-Elect Donald Trump has chosen Dr. Ben Carson to be in his Cabinet

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Video: In late November 2016 Ben Carson opened up about declining a Trump cabinet position

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Video: Donald Trump taps Ben Carson for HUD secretary

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In order of succession to the Presidency:

Highest appointment in the Cabinet 
Next 4 highest level in succession to the Presidency
No. Order of succession Office
  Vice President
  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
4 Attorney General
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

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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.
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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 
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# Secretary Position Year Party Administration
appointed
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

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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.

Presidential Succession:
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.

TIME LINE:
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.

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