AFP-Jiji WASHINGTON (AFP-Jiji) — Donald Trump announced Thursday he has nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be U.S. secretary of agriculture, completing the president-elect’s 15 cabinet selections on the eve of his inauguration.
With his inner circle finalized, Trump’s incoming cabinet will feature no Hispanics, the first time since Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s.
Perdue, 70, has considerable political experience, having been a state senator for a decade before serving two terms as governor of an agricultural state whose capital Atlanta is a major business hub. He also worked as a veterinarian before becoming a small-business owner, and he is a first cousin of U.S. Sen. David Perdue.
“From growing up on a farm to being governor of a big agriculture state, he has spent his whole life understanding and solving the challenges our farmers face, and he is going to deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land,” Trump said in a statement announcing Sonny Perdue as his pick.
The nomination of Perdue, which requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate, is the final pick for Trump’s 16-member cabinet, which includes the vice president — who was elected in November with Trump — and the heads of 15 executive departments.
Another former governor, Rick Perry of Texas, has been tapped for the cabinet post of energy secretary, while South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is Trump’s pick to be ambassador to the United Nations, a position with cabinet rank.
Out of the 21 cabinet-rank positions already nominated by the president-elect, only four are women. One is black and two are Asian-American.
Incoming press secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump’s cabinet makeup against charges he has the largest number of white males in his cabinet in years, describing as “second to none” Trump’s diversity in his overall political appointments.
“It’s not just about skin color and heritage,” Spicer told reporters in Washington.