Already under fire for a lack of women and minorities in his second-term cabinet, President Obama lost U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk today.
Kirk is not only African-American, but the only Texan in Obama’s cabinet. The former Dallas mayor will leave in February.
“I want to thank Ambassador Kirk for his hard work on behalf of the American people over the past four years. There’s no question Ron delivered results for the American people and for our economy,” Obama said in statement.
“From bringing home new trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama and negotiating to open up new markets for American businesses, to cracking down on unfair trade practices around the world, he has been a tremendous advocate for the American worker,” he said. “As a former mayor, Ron was relentless in making the case to the American public that a balanced, thoughtful trade policy can contribute to a stronger economic future for America. I appreciate his service and wish him the best of luck.”
Kirk has expressed his desire to leave for months now. In May, he told Reuters that he expected “to take advantage of the opportunity to go back and serve my family now,” but it would be up to the president to accept his resignation or not.
That leaves Attorney General Eric Holder and UN Ambassador Susan Rice as the black members of Obama’s cabinet, should Rice remain in a cabinet role.
“His cabinet, when he’s finished — and he’s far from finished — will have diversity, including women, including people of color,” senior adviser Valerie Jarrett claimed over the weekend.