Trump administration deletes apology to LGBT people over government discrimination

The Obama administration's web content is preserved by National Archives and Records

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The Independent US

The Trump administration removed an apology from the State Department to the LGBTQ community for discrimination dating back to the 1940s, prompting criticism for advocacy groups. 

Former Secretary of State John Kerry published an apology on the site for the department’s past discrimination based on sexual orientation – but it has since disappeared from the site. 

“[T]he Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place,” Mr Kerry’s statement said. “These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today.”

But since the transfer of power, the new administration had removed LGBTQ, civil rights, and climate change content, as well as the Spanish language version of the White House website. 

Speaking at a press briefing earlier this week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that all of the content would return to the site as the administration revamps its issues pages.

“Administration-specific content that was posted on state.gov during President Obama’s tenure was archived,” the State Department told LawNewz.com. “Content that remains on state.gov includes, but is not limited to, the functions and operations of the Department information; Congressionally-mandated reports … legal treaties, and air transport agreements.

“New items created by the Trump Administration will be posted to state.gov.”

The Human Rights Campaign condemned the removal of the apology note and suggested that it was indicative of the Trump administration’s regressive approach to LGBTQ rights. 

“With each passing hour, the Trump administration continues to show the extent of their contempt for the enormous progress made over the past eight years,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “Secretary Kerry's apology to LGBTQ employees and their families who were targeted, harassed, and fired set the right tone for the State Department, even if it couldn't undo the damage done decades ago. 

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“It is outrageous that the new administration would attempt to erase from the record this historic apology for witch hunts that destroyed the lives of innocent Americans,” he added. “The apology, along with the other important LGBTQ content that has been removed, should immediately be restored, and President Trump should condemn such behaviour at all departments and agencies.” 

However, Politifact pointed out that the Obama administration laid out its digital transition plan in October. Mr Obama turned over all content to the National Archives and Records, preserved at ObamaWhiteHouse.archives.gov

The Trump administration now has the ability to shape the White House website – which National Archives considers official presidential record. When it appeared that they removed climate change, LGBTQ issues, and civil rights from their website, it was a matter of omission. Although, given Mr Trump's position on progressive politics, the omission is notable. 

Instead of repopulating those issues, Mr Trump's team filled the website with so-called "America First" policy positions in the changeover.