Trump’s White House Off to Slow Start with Spanish Speakers

Associated Press, July 1, 2017

Donald Trump Shrugs

Credit Image: © Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA Wire

The Trump White House no habla español. Well, un poquito.

After a succession of administrations that embraced Spanish-language content, President Donald Trump’s White House is all but ignoring Spanish speakers even though he has a robust online presence in English.

His administration has yet to offer a Spanish White House website. It has eliminated the position of director of Hispanic media outreach. And its Spanish-language Twitter account is heavy with English text and features sloppy translations.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in January that the administration had its “IT folks working overtime” to roll out a new Spanish language site after WhiteHouse.gov/espanol went dark in the hours after Trump took office.

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The White House’s Spanish Twitter account, @LaCasaBlanca, is also far less active in the Trump era.

The account has tweeted just 41 times since Trump’s inauguration; more than one-third of those posts came on the day of his address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28. Of the 41 tweets, about half were written in English.

The Spanish tweets are sprinkled with typos — 11 in all. While most mistakes are minor flubs such as missing accents, those accents often change the meaning of words significantly. For instance, they turn “medical” into “medicate” or “is” into “this.”

Notably, one of the first agencies to expand Spanish-language content during the Trump era has been U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The agency better known as ICE is responsible for carrying out deportations. Last month, it announced that it was expanding the Spanish section of its website and started a new Spanish twitter feed, @ICEespanol.

ICE en Español

The White House director of media affairs, Helen Aguirre Ferre, said she expects a Spanish website to launch later this year. She noted the Obama administration took nine months to launch its version, adding that “the priority remains to improve the English language website.”

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Former President George W. Bush began the tradition of a Spanish-language website. The Obama administration followed suit.

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