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But the president was forced to defend his record on diversity recently after Democrats started lining up to criticize Obama for appointing too many white men to his Cabinet and not selecting enough women and people of color to his inner circle.

“I’m very proud that in the first four years, we had as diverse, if not a more diverse, White House and a Cabinet than any in history,” Obama said earlier this year. “I intended to continue that, because it turns out when you look for the very best people, given the incredible diversity of this country, you’re going to end up with a diverse staff.”

Meanwhile, the White House says that as mayor, Foxx has experience in boosting transit  projects to create jobs, which included oversight of an electric tram service to Charlotte, an expansion of a light rail system and the opening of a third runway at the city’s airport.

“The city has managed to turn things around,” the president said. “The economy is growing. There are more jobs, more opportunity. And if you ask Anthony how that happened, he’ll tell you that one of the reasons is that Charlotte made one of the largest investments in transportation in the city’s history.”

Foxx was first elected Charlotte mayor in 2009. He would replace outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood, one of the few Republicans serving in the Obama administration.

Some Republicans have already expressed skepticism about Foxx, saying they know little about him and that he doesn’t have long-term experience in the transportation industry. And in a move that has infuriated Foxx, The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would move control of the airport from the city to an independent agency.

But according to The Charlotte Observer, Foxx has the backing of several transportation industry groups, including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and AAA.

And Rev. Al Sharpton also released a statement of support for Foxx.

“The National Action Network is delighted with the nomination of Mayor Anthony Foxx to the position of Secretary of Transportation,” the statement said. “Mayor Foxx has shown that he is beyond capable in his role as the Mayor of Charlotte through his work of improving and expanding transportation in that city. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Department of Transportation under the leadership of Mayor Foxx and urge [the] Senate to confirm him without delay.”

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