About That Spanish–Language White House Website…


Yeah, it’s probably never going to happen.

Old claims by officials that a new Spanish–language White House website would soon be online, after the Trump administration took the other one down immediately upon taking office, appear to be more lies among the thousands the administration has told over the past year.

Unlike the previous two presidential administrations, the current White House has no Spanish–language content on its website. Asked recently by the Associated Press if she would keep her word about someone creating that content anytime soon, White House Director of Media Affairs Helen Aguirre Ferre said her staff is focused on “important content in English.”

“We continue to work on improving the White House website providing important content in English pertaining to the initiatives and policies the Trump administration is undertaking,” she told the AP.

That’s not what she said last year. Last July, Aguirre promised that a Spanish–language website would launch by the end of 2017. Five months before Aguirre made that promise, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told an even bigger lie, claiming that IT staff was “working overtime” to get it done.

But visitors to www.whitehouse.gov/espanol are still welcomed with a big fat 404 error message. This is despite the fact that more than 40 million U.S. residents over the age of 5—just over 13% of all U.S. residents—said they spoke Spanish at home as of 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a 133% increase since 1990. Additionally, 12 million say they are bilingual. One study predicted that the U.S. will become the largest Spanish–speaking country by 2050.

Then again, there’s the issue of what content would even look like if staffers ever got around to creating it. Under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, the White House’s Spanish–language portal featured more than simple translations of content from English. It also had links to topics of interest and initiatives directly affecting Spanish speakers of all walks of life in the U.S.

It’s actually a bit scary to think about what the Trump White House would post. It’s also unclear if the administration has anyone on staff capable of doing it. Currently, Spanish speakers hoping to become informed about the goings–on in the executive branch can follow @LaCasaBlanca, the White House’s Spanish–language Twitter account. There they will find mangled Spanish translations of press statements originally in English and translated quotes from the president’s recent State of the Union speech (except for that “Americans are dreamers, too” comment).

As the AP notes, even the North Korean government’s Korea Central News Agency puts out content in Spanish. Someone should tell Donald Trump that—maybe then he’ll finally want Spanish content, too.

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