- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
School commencement dispute raises issue over Obama’s diversity record
Alumni at a historically black college where President Obama will deliver the commencement address say the school has disinvited a speaker who criticized the president's record on Cabinet diversity and black unemployment.
Citizens for Change, a group of Morehouse College alumni, said it is "outraged" that college President John Wilson Jr. rescinded the school's offer to the Rev. Kevin R. Johnson to speak at the college's baccalaureate service, which will be held the day before Mr. Obama addresses graduates in Atlanta on May 19.
"Dr. Johnson represents the best of the Morehouse tradition and the best of engaged political support of President Obama, even if at times critical of the president," the group said in a statement. "Punishing the expression of political dissent is the wrong message to send young African-American men charged with being global citizens in a diverse world."
Mr. Wilson said in a statement that he did not revoke the invitation to Mr. Johnson, but asked him to share the stage with two other baccalaureate speakers, and that Mr. Johnson declined. He said the move had nothing to do with censorship.
"My decision has been wrongly construed by some as an effort to 'disinvite' this individual," Mr. Wilson said. "He was not disinvited, but rather declined to participate in the format."
Mr. Johnson, senior pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, said he received a phone call from Mr. Wilson on April 15, the day after he published an op-ed critical of Mr. Obama in the Philadelphia Tribune, which serves the black community. Citizens for Change said Mr. Wilson "encouraged" the minister to step aside as speaker and expressed concern about the column.
In the Tribune article, Mr. Johnson criticized Mr. Obama for failing to appoint more blacks to his second-term Cabinet and for failing to adequately address black unemployment.
"When one compares President Obama to his predecessors, the decrease in African-American appointments is astounding," Mr. Johnson wrote April 14. "For Obama, Eric Holder is the first African-American attorney general and the only African-American cabinet member of Obama's administration. When one compares the first African-American president to his recent predecessors, the number of African-Americans in senior cabinet positions is very disappointing: [Bill] Clinton (7); [George W.] Bush (4); and Obama (1). Obama has not moved African-American leadership forward, but backwards."
Lisa P. Jackson, who is black, served as Mr. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency administrator, but left her post after the president's first term. Senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett also is black.
The Associated Press reported late Sunday afternoon that President Obama plans to nominate Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx, who is black, as transportation secretary.
Mr. Bush, a Republican, had four blacks in his Cabinet: Secretaries of state Colin L. Powell and Condoleezza Rice, Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson and Education Secretary Rod Paige.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also have criticized Mr. Obama's record on diversity. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, said this month in the group's weekly radio address that Mr. Obama "once again overlooked his most loyal constituency.''
"Many of my colleagues and I are disturbed by the president's lack of attention to diversity in his Cabinet and administration,'' Mr. Thompson said.
White House officials said Mr. Obama is committed to diversity, and that the selection process for his second-term Cabinet is not finished.
"He believes that diversity is valuable because it enhances the decision-making process in the Cabinet, and it's important within his senior staff for the same reason,'' Jay Carney, White House press secretary, said last month.
Mr. Johnson wrote in the Tribune article that Mr. Obama's record was "disrespectful" to the black community that overwhelmingly backed him in 2008 and 2012. Mr. Johnson said he organized Philadelphia's first interfaith and interracial breakfast for the presidential candidate in 2008.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at email@example.com.
- Protesters, police clash in Philippines ahead of Obama visit
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China; prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- White House warily watching N. Korea nuke activity ahead of Obama tour of Asia
- 38 Republicans put aside differences for lawsuit challenging legality of Obamacare
- Obama to renew pitch for big free-trade agreement
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Harry Reid using tax dollars to fight Koch brothers, La. GOP chair charges
- Washington Redskins' 2014 schedule opens with Texans
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014