English only in this White House
Trump removes Spanish-language link from White House website
Newly installed president also closes government’s social network accounts directed toward Latino community
Barely two days into office, Donald Trump seems to be sending a silent message to the US Hispanic community, his country’s largest minority. After announcing a Cabinet with no Latinos in it, the first time this has happened in three decades, the new team at the White house has closed the government’s Spanish-language accounts on social networks. Furthermore, nobody has yet been announced to replace the Obama administration’s spokesperson for policies or topics relating to the country’s Latino community.
At midday on Friday, while a newly sworn-in Trump was making his inauguration speech, the White House was changing hands, analogically and digitally. President Obama’s Twitter account was handed over to Trump, as was the White House website, which soon posted a photograph of the new incumbent. That wasn’t the only change: aside from removing the new government’s links to topics such as climate change policy, Cuba, or the Iran nuclear deal, the En Español option also disappeared.
This link not only provided a route to a Spanish-language version of the White House website, but also to topics of interest to the Hispanic community, such as Obama’s executive decisions to temporarily regularize the situation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented minors through the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Under the Obama administration, the White House also ran a Spanish-language blog that discussed topics of special interest to the country’s Hispanic community, ranging from immigration to normalizing relations with Cuba or the economic crisis in Puerto Rico.
Despite the incoming president’s predilection for Twitter – aside from his official, presidential account, Trump has kept his personal one – the White House’s Spanish-language version has been blocked. The last tweet in Spanish is dated January 13, and was sent by the Obama administration.
During the campaign trail, Trump highlighted immigration as one of the biggest problems facing the United States, promising to build a wall along the Mexican border and to punish US companies that continued to relocate to Mexico with high import tariffs. The only time Trump used a Spanish word while on the stump was during the last presidential debate with his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, when he talked about bad hombres in reference to the “dangerous illegals” he promised to deport.
Trump also criticized one of his rivals for the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush, for speaking Spanish during the campaign.
“We have a country where, if you want to assimilate, you have to speak English… I am not the first to say this…This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish,” he said during a debate with other Republican hopefuls in September 2015.
More than a year later and now in office, Trump appears to be sticking to his guns.