As President Trump took the oath of office on Friday, the official White House website got a makeover emphasizing his “law and order” administration’s intent to policing Black Americans, immigrants, and other people of color.
“Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter,” stated the new WhiteHouse.gov page dedicated to “standing up for our law enforcement community.”
“Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school,” the page continued.
The Washington Post’s coverage of Inauguration Day activities said the makeover expressed “fierce support for law enforcement bordering on vigilantism”—perhaps alluding to the site’s statement “supporting law enforcement means supporting our citizens’ ability to protect themselves” and the vow to “uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system.”
The new WhiteHouse.gov has taken the same approach to undocumented immigrants, casting them as lawless people that Trump’s proposed border wall could stop from entering the country.
The White House website dropped its pages on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), climate change, and LGTBQ rights, now available only via the Obama White House’s archive. Although congressional Republicans are on their way to repealing the ACA and defunding Planned Parenthood, neither they, nor Trump, have proposed a formal replacement.
The White House’s new approach echoed both the policies and dog-whistle tactics that Trump wielded against people of color throughout his presidential campaign.
Trump criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and repeatedly told Black voters that they should vote for him because “inner-city crime is reaching record levels”—a false claim. He proposed using discriminatory stop-and-frisk policies in cities like Chicago as a solution to crime and poverty.
He was unable to articulate his views on widely acknowledged racial disparities in the criminal justice system to the Washington Post editorial board.
Trump’s inauguration speech included a similar ode to dog-whistle politics, referring to the “crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.”