EVEN before Theresa May arrived in Washington on January 27th as the first foreign leader to visit Donald Trump in the White House, the newly inaugurated president had taken to calling her “my Maggie”. The phrase was a nod to the close relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, so it is perhaps fitting that the makeup of Mr Trump′s cabinet harks back to Reagan′s as well. Just four of Mr Trump′s appointees are women, three are non-white, and none are Hispanic. Not since 1981 has an American cabinet been this homogenous in terms of age, race and sex. His picks look particularly monochromatic when compared with Barack Obama’s: more than 40% of appointments to cabinet-level positions in the previous administration went to racial minorities, slightly exceeding their share of the population as a whole.

Mr Trump has, however, eschewed graduates of Ivy League colleges: he will be surrounded by fewer Ivy Leaguers than any other president has been over the past four decades. Whether that reflects a commitment to breaking the hold of the “elites” on the levers of power or disregard for the qualifications of his officials is in the eye of the beholder.