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Politics

Trump to preside over an English-only White House?

After nominating a cabinet with no Latinos for the first time in three decades, President Donald Trump's new White House has an English-only website - at least for now.
Univision News Logo
23 Ene 2017 – 03:10 PM EST
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White House Spanish language website disappears Crédito: Univision

No Latinos in the cabinet, and now Spanish has been taken off the White House website. No more 'Casa Blanca.'

The new administration removed an "En Español" option on the official White House website after Friday's inauguration. It also has yet to appoint a Hispanic media spokesperson.

The Obama adminstration maintained a Spanish-language White House web page link with links to issues of interest to the Hispanic community, such as Obama’s executive action protecting the children of undocumented immigrants, known as 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.

The White House’s Spanish-language Twitter and Facebook pages have also been removed.

Asked about when the White House's Spanish site would be reinstated, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated on Monday it would be restored at some point. "We've got the IT guys working overtime," he said.

"We're working piece by piece to get that done," he said.

During the election campaign Trump suggested he was opposed to Spanish being used as an official language. “We have to have assimilation to have a country ... This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish,” he said in September 2015.

Although the number of English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. is growing, many Latinos continue to speak Spanish. Out of 53 million Hispanics in the United States more than nine million don't understand English or speak it poorly, according to the U.S. Census.

Demographically, the United States is 61.5 percent white and 17.6 percent Hispanic, with another 12.3 percent African American and 5.3 percent Asian.
Trump's cabinet is 86.4 percent white, 9.1 percent Asian, and 4.5 percent black.

So far, only a a handful of Hispanics have been appointed to the Trump administration, the most prominent being Harvard lecturer Carlos Díaz Rosillo, who will serve in the White House Political Office as Director of Inter-Agency Policy Coordination.

Helen Aguirre Ferré, a Nicaraguan-born journalist from Miami, was also appointed Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs. She previously was Director of Hispanic Communications at the Republican National Committee.

Aguirre Ferre did not return an email asking if she could clarify the White House's policy regarding use of the Spanish language.

Three more Cuban Americans -- Yleem Poblete, a former congressional staffer on the Foreign Affairs committee, Mauricio Claver-Carone, a conservative Cuba policy activist, and John Barsa, national security consultant -- also served on Trump's transition team. It's not clear if they have been offered jobs in the new administration.

Trump alienated most Hispanics during the election campaign by making derogatory comments about Mexicans, suggesting many of them were criminals and rapists and promising to build a border wall to prevent illegal immigration. He also threatened an import tax of goods made by U.S. companies in Mexico.

On a couple of rare occasions he used Spanish on the campaign trail, describing undocumented Hispanic criminals as "bad hombres." He also tweeted a photo of himself eating tacos on 5 de Mayo, adding "I love Hispanics."

Trump also feuded with Univision when the company cut its business ties with the Trump organization after his comments about Mexicans. Trump sued the network for $500 million but the two sides later settled the dispute.

Trump met with Univision executives earlier this month before assuming office. Univision issued a statement after the meeting saying it would continue to cover the Trump administration "with the rigor that we have brought to the coverage of every administration that preceded it ... without fear or favor and with one goal only – to ensure our audience is well-informed."

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