Civil Rights, LGBT Pages Erased from White House Website

Within minutes of swearing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, Donald Trump’s White House on Friday scrubbed all references to LGBT rights, deleted the civil rights page and erased any mention of climate change.

Meanwhile, a new page, “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community,” made its debut, saying “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”

A report called “Advancing LGBT Workplace Rights” also disappeared from the Department of Labor website. Trump has previously said he opposes same-gender marriage, and while he previously said he doesn’t think sexual orientation “should be a reason” to fire someone, he did not propose a plan to end LGBT workplace discrimination. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence has been a longtime opponent of LGBT rights.

“The transition of the site is in progress as updates are made,” said Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks over the weekend.

It is standard for the new administration to have its own version of the White House website, so Obama’s pages would be expected to disappear (an archived version of his White House site can be found here). However, the fact that Trump chose not to include LGBT issues on his website has raised concerns that he will roll back the progress Obama’s administration made for LGBT rights.

On Friday, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement, “If President Trump truly believes in uniting the country, now is the time to make clear whether he will be an ally to the LGBTQ community in our struggle for full equality. We are prepared to do whatever it takes to protect our community and our progress.”

Trump “will pretend that we don’t exist while they work tirelessly to strip away all the gains we’ve made toward being equal citizens of our nation,” Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case, told the Washington Post.

A petition created on the White House website demands the “Trump administration add LGBT rights, climate change, and civil rights back to list of issues on site.”

The only issues currently listed on Trump’s White House website pertain to energy (where he calls the Climate Action Plan “harmful and unnecessary”), foreign policy, jobs, the military, law enforcement and trade deals.

On his campaign website Trump had included “Trump’s New Deal for Black America,” in which he characteristically links all Black Americans to “inner cities.” In this proposal Trump calls for “Equal Justice Under the Law,” saying, “We will apply the law fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules — not a two-tiered system of justice.”

The new White House website, however, makes no mention of civil rights, or of any plan for equal justice for minorities. And while Trump has chosen not to include anything regarding civil rights on his website, he previously accused Obama of not doing enough for Black Americans while president, saying this is the reason there will not be another Black president “for generations.”

“Because I think that [Obama] has set a very poor standard and it’s a shame for the African American people,” he said in 2015. “He really has done nothing for African Americans. You look at what’s gone on with their income levels, and with their youth. They have problems now in terms of unemployment numbers. We have a Black president who’s done very poorly for the African Americans of this country.”

Unemployment for Blacks was actually at a lower rate at the end of Obama’s presidency than it was in the beginning. When he took office in January 2009 the unemployment rate for Blacks was 12.7 percent; in December 2016 it was 7.8 percent.

Obama made criminal justice reform a large part of his presidency, granting clemency to 1,927 people — 1,715 commutations and 212 pardons. Legislation such as The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, a sprawling criminal justice bill that received bipartisan support, created mandatory minimum sentences that disproportionately affected African Americans and Latinos. It has contributed to the United States comprising approximately 25 percent of the world’s prison population — despite representing about 5 percent of the world’s total population.

Trump has previously slammed Obama for his commutations, making it highly unlikely that criminal justice reform will ever earn a spot on Trump’s website.

“Some of these people are bad dudes,” he said at a Florida rally in 2016. “These are people out walking the streets. Sleep tight, folks.”

Obama’s website included sections for women and equal pay. Under Trump’s “Bringing Back Jobs And Growth,” he makes no mention of closing the gender pay gap or advancing women in the workplace, such as into managerial positions or STEM careers.

The page titled “Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community” cites significant increases in homicides in the nation’s largest cities. While many cities did see large increases in homicides — killings in Chicago were at the highest since 1996, the Chicago Tribune reported — the page also inaccurately states, “In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent.”

However, Washington, D.C., actually saw a 17 percent decrease in homicides from 2015 to 2016. Overall crime was down by 5 percent between the two years. And in New York City, 2016 saw just under 1,000 shootings — a drop of 12 percent from 2015, the New York Daily News reported.

The law enforcement page also elaborates on Trump’s well-known hardline immigration stance, doubling down on his commitment to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It also details his promise “to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.”

“[Trump] is dedicated to enforcing our border laws, ending sanctuary cities, and stemming the tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration,” the page states.

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