What Happened To The White House Website?

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Recently, there has been a public outcry regarding the so-called removal of certain web pages on the official White House website (The White House | whitehouse.gov).

A screenshot of the White House website shows there is no lo content regarding LGBT+ related topics.

Many claimed that among these abandoned pages were those addressing climate change, LGBT rights, healthcare, and civil rights mentions. However, to say that Trump specifically scrubbed these issues from the site is factually incorrect. A nearly blank website is, in fact, standard procedure. Like both the Clinton and Bush White House websites, the Obama White House website was frozen on January 20th and made available under a new domain. The new White House has recieved the whitehouse.gov domain and all content that was posted during the Obama administration has been archived with the National Archives and Records Administration. The relocation of the old content was expected, as the Obama administration posted on its blog in October 2016 about how whitehouse.gov would essentially be rebuilt in the transition to a new president. Climate change, along with other topics, is addressed on the Trump administration’s site, although not in the same exact manner of Obama’s site. Instead of organizing whitehouse.gov with broad topic areas, the Trump site lists his six policy positions. The claims, however, that certain issues are missing from the site are correct.

The nonexistence of these key issues on the site in addition to the extended period of time it is taking for Trump’s new content to be uploaded speaks to the fledgling administration’s lack of appropriate preparation. The website currently lacks the Spanish translation that was available during the Obama years, which officials promise will be available soon. The relative date of “soon” is still unknown. Furthermore, the absence of healthcare on Trump’s “Issues” list is especially noticeable, given that healthcare is currently one of the most discussed policy topics in the nation. Furthermore, Trump and many members of Congress have rushed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly nicknamed Obamacare) without coming up with a viable replacement. Both of these facts demonstrate the Trump administration’s unpreparedness on a not only technical, but also fundamental policy level. “[The new administration] is way too hasty in trying to get things done, and in the process they are taking away key regulatory positions without any replacements ready… the handling of multiple proposals, including the travel ban and the repealing and replacement of the ACA, is unclear and continues to be unclear even after implementation,” said Sally Ho ’19, in a statement that accurately summarizes one of the most serious problems of the still-developing Trump administration.

This screenshot of the White House website depicts where you would be redirected after clicking an old link, such as a Spanish translation.

Throughout Scarsdale High School, the presence of reactions have varied. There is a spectrum of knowledge regarding the new administration; while some students are not aware of the initial hype surrounding the “disappearing” pages, others are thoroughly immersed in discussion regarding these issues, and yet others still fall in between the two categories. “I have not heard of any reactions throughout the school,” said Arjun Ravi ’18, “and I did not realize that web pages on important topics had been allegedly deleted off the site. However, I am not entirely surprised by this.” Other students, though, did know a considerable amount of information regarding the false deletions. “I am aware [of these misunderstood deletions],” said Sanjana Bhatnagar ’19, but “people have not been reacting to the website changes as much as Trump’s actual policy actions. Regardless, the reactions have been visceral.” Unlike Bhatnagar, Ravi had not heard of any reactions to the hype in school. “I have not heard of any reactions in school,” Ravi noted. “Everyone’s like, ‘I’m scared of Trump,’ but doesn’t actually take the time to examine his policies. As much as I disagree with him, parts of his policies do make sense and have the right purpose.” The rational, knowledgeable, and open-minded approach Ravi takes to politics and the Trump administration is specifically what SHS, and this country, needs right now. Ravi eloquently puts forth the best possible general course of action for the time being: “we can and should bash Trump through peaceful protest because some of his proposed policies are unfair and discriminatory, but it’s about being informed and bashing him. Before you decide that you hate a policy, you have to actually read it.”

 

by Alexandra Fogel