Along with his remarked-upon shortfalls in diplomacy, nuance, finesse, rationality and often good manners, our 45th president has also been docked for his diversity shortfall. This means he is surrounded by too many persons of pallor and of masculinity, in other words, by white males.
And there they were, as the Washington Post has reported — five of them — sitting there listening as he was speaking to Putin by phone. To make matters worse, as the paper continued, "Trump's choices to fill 21 Cabinet-level positions include 16 white men, four women, (including two Asian-Americans) and one African-American man."
Trump could have found some more people of qualification with additional melanin and without the Y chromosome had he looked harder, but the fact remains that Republicans face an additional problem concerning diversity that their critics don't mention: No sooner do they elect or appoint a female, Hispanic, black and/or Asian to any post whatsoever than that person loses all authenticity as a member of whatever group he or she may belong to. Thus they become, in the eyes of the press and the Democrats, an imposter, a sell-out, a traitor, a Quisling, a monster, a fraud.
On Feb. 8, Sen. Tim Scott took to the floor of the Senate, reading aloud (omitting those with the "n-word" in them) the messages that had come his way from liberal Democrats, saying he had gotten used to them in his years in politics, but that they had rattled his staff and his friends. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was depicted (by a black magazine) as being a lawn jockey, and Condoleeza Rice (by a prize-winning cartoonist) as Prissy in "Gone With The Wind."
The press constantly profiles conservative female and non-white public figures as if they had personality disorders that explained this divergence. In 2001-2003, Democrats repeatedly filibustered George W. Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to the United States Court of Appeals because they didn't want the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court to be a conservative. Gloria Steinem described Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson as a "female impersonator," and the recent post-inauguration "Women's March" on Washington refused to admit pro-life feminists as sponsors, on the grounds that they were not "women" at all.
In fact, the current definition of what "diversity" means — a system in which each "group" is owed and is guaranteed a certain determined number of seats at the table, no matter who fills them — is directly opposed to the term's original meaning, which is that if each individual is given his chance to prove his own merits, a mix of some sort will prevail.
The latter is the way John Kennedy campaigned for president, not saying it was the Catholics' "turn," or that they had a viewpoint that needed representation, but that he had a right to fair consideration for a post that he hoped he deserved. It is this system that gave us a Supreme Court of three Jews and five Catholics, a dispensation that hardly represents the proportional breakdown, but of which no Protestant in his right mind complains.
It is the system that gave us until recently a state (South Carolina) whose three lead politicians were a black man from the slums of South Charleston, the West Asian daughter of Indian immigrants, and Lindsay Graham as the lonely white male. It is uneven, unpredictable, and fits no patterns of "fairness" involving a group, but is fairness itself as regards human beings. If you think that they matter, of course.
Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."