The Obama administration regularly updated versions of the White House website in Spanish and a companion Twitter account (@LaCasaBlanca), sharing news of the president’s speeches and actions and information about health-care reform, changes to immigration policy and other subjects. George W. Bush’s administration also maintained a Spanish version of the official White House website.
The disappearance of official White House information translated into Spanish was noticed by several Spanish-language news services, who reported about it through the weekend with no formal response from the Trump administration.
But on Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Spanish site would soon return.
“We hit the ground running on Day One. There was a lot of work to do, and we had done a lot of work on the website to make sure that we were prepared to get as much information up as fast as possible,” he explained during his first regularly scheduled press briefing. “We are continuing to build out the website both in the issue areas and in that area. But we’ve got the IT folks working overtime to continue to get all of that up to speed. Trust me, it’s going to take a little bit more time, but we’re working piece by piece to get that done.”
The changes to WhiteHouse.gov began Friday with a transformation that included Trump’s set of policy pledges broadly outlining what he hopes to do as president. There are statements espousing fierce support for law enforcement and gun owners’ rights, and there is no longer any information about the Obama administration’s climate change policy or the Affordable Care Act.
There was also a notable change in writing style. As The Washington Post noted Friday, the newly revamped site repeatedly refers to the former businessman as “Mr. Trump,” not “President Trump,” whereas Obama went by “President Obama” on his administration’s website. (Vice President Pence is referred to by his office, rather than as “Mr. Pence”). Trump’s biographical page boasts about his electoral win, and the official biography of first lady Melania Trump touts her modeling work and jewelry line.
None of the changes are so far displayed in Spanish. Here’s how the Spanish home page and Twitter account appeared on Monday morning:
While the White House has shuttered its Spanish-language Web operations, at least some agencies still have theirs. For example, the Spanish version of HealthCare.gov was still operable on Monday, signaling that there’s no governmentwide ban on sharing information in foreign languages — at least not yet.
During his presidential campaign, Trump spoke out several times against speaking Spanish in the United States. In September 2015, Trump criticized his then-rival Jeb Bush to his face during a debate for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail.
“We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. And I think that where he was, and the way it came out didn’t sound right to me. We have to have assimilation — to have a country, we have to have assimilation,” Trump said. “This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”
Over the course of the general election campaign, Trump’s team never published a Spanish version of his campaign website and bought no radio, television or digital advertising in Spanish.