President-Elect Donald Trump said that he would select the best people for each one of his cabinet positions. From the looks of the choices he has made so far, it looks like he is going to be the first leader in 29 years to fail to find one qualified Latino to join his team.
It is true that the Republican’s relationship with a wide sector of the Latino community was turbulent due to his strategy to use Mexicans, immigrants and undocumented people as scapegoats.
However, if it is true that Trump obtained 30% of the Latino vote, an important enough support base exists to consider a political appointment of this type.
Those close to the New Yorker say that he is aware of the diversity issue. They point to the selection of Asian-American Elaine Chao for Secretary of Transportation as an example, as well as the selections of Nikki Halley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, who will be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and African-American Ben Carson, who will be in charge of housing.
Fine. However, that argument does not explain why he is unable to find a member of the largest minority in the United States when other Republicans have done it.
Ronald Reagan appointed Lauro Cavazos to lead the Department of Education. George H.W. Bush named ex-Congressman Manuel Luján secretary of the interior. George W. Bush picked the CEO of Coca-Cola Carlos Gutiérrez (who has the entrepreneurial profile Trump likes so much) to direct the Department of Commerce and Alberto Gonzáles for White House advisor and later Secretary of Justice. The teams of Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also had Latinos.
We believe that the problem is not that there are not enough Latinos with sufficient knowledge of these areas. Otherwise, how could we explain the appointment of Rick Perry for energy, whose last job was appearing in “Dancing with the Starts,” or the aforementioned cases of Halley and Carson, who have zero experience in the areas to which they have been assigned?
At this moment, reports say that two Latinos are being interviewed by Trump: Jovita Carranza for trade representative and Luis Quiñonez for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Both of them come with experience, and we hope they will be selected.
The motivation is not filling a quota. The purpose of having a Latina or Latino in the highest positions is to have someone to provide the perspective and life experience gained from being part of a community as diverse as ours.