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News & Views

Was Trump’s inaugural weekend a sign of things to come?

As Donald Trump was sworn into office as President of the United States on Friday, a curious change took place on the official White House website; it’s pages relating to healthcare, climate change and LGBTQ rights vanished.

A site-wide search reveals no results for ‘climate change’ or ‘LGBT rights’, instead leading to an opt-in form for a Trump newsletter. Curiously, while content relating to these hot-button social issues was impossible to find, users could easily navigate their way to a page on the Trump-branded America First Foreign Policy.

While many commentators have conceded that this could simply be due to a transition of content, it’s impossible to ignore the inauspicious timing; Trump is an avowed climate change denier, and Vice President Mike Pence is a supporter of gay conversion therapy. It is no surprise, then, that the disappearance of content relating to these specific issues within hours of the inauguration has caused concern among both the LGBTQ community and environmental activists.

Trump has downplayed climate change concerns on multiple occasions, and his new “America First Energy Plan,” posted on Friday, appears to be a direct rebuttal to Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which ruffled a number of Republican feathers.

The original LGBT rights page, added to the White House website during Obama’s administration, included information relating to recent advances in equality legislation and links to support networks. Under a Trump/Pence administration, it is uncertain what such a webpage would look like, should it reappear at all.

But as Trump and his new cabinet were celebrating, half a million protestors took to the streets. Marches in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and across Europe, organised by women of every race, religion and sexual orientation, centred on the incoming president’s deeply disturbing track recording regarding women’s rights.

The Women’s March on Washington drew greater crowds than the actual inauguration. This is a fact which newly installed White House press secretary Sean Spicer did his best to dispel, but which is important to acknowledge. Because while Trump took the weekend to rest up before starting his new job, the rest of the world was getting ready to spend the next four years making its voice heard.

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