Trump’s bureaucracy is nearly as white, male, and unequal as his cabinet

The Trump administration in microcosm.
The Trump administration in microcosm.
Image: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
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When Donald Trump’s cabinet was criticized for having more white men (paywall) than any president’s first cabinet since Ronald Reagan, his then-spokesman Sean Spicer said we should wait to see the numbers for the whole bureaucracy.

“People [should] look at and respect the level of diversity throughout his entire administration,” Spicer said in January, pointing out that there were up to 5,000 positions to be filled.

Now, Reuters has got hold of the data for Trump’s first batch of 1,051 political appointees (those hired by June) and found that they are 27 percentage points whiter and 13 percentage points more male than the population at large.

That’s a significant step backwards from the last year of the Obama administration, which was a much closer reflection of America’s ethnic and gender make-up—with 6 percentage points more white people and slightly fewer men than the national average. George W. Bush’s bureaucracy was also slightly more diverse than Trump’s; it was 40% female to Trump’s 38%. Bush had the same proportion of ethnic minorities as Trump—12%—but in 2008, the US was also less ethnically diverse—65% white, compared to 61% now, according to Reuters.

The administration isn’t the only arm of government that’s heavily skewed. A recent Quartz analysis showed that politicians elected to Congress are 80% male and 81% white.