Days after the inauguration of President Trump, the White House’s Spanish-language website vanished. To many, this read as a clear statement of intent; and on a more practical level, it left 41 million native Spanish-speaking Americans without a direct line of information and inquiry to the United States government.
In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Spanish-language site would eventually return. “We hit the ground running on Day One,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “There was a lot of work to do, and we had done a lot of work on the website to make sure that we were prepared to get as much information up as fast as possible. We are continuing to build out the website both in the issue areas and in that area. But we’ve got the IT folks working overtime to continue to get all of that up to speed. Trust me, it’s going to take a little bit more time, but we’re working piece by piece to get that done.” So it’s coming. We just don’t know when.”
However, nearly a month after its removal, the URL still leads to a generic 404 page. Meanwhile, the White House’s Spanish-language Twitter handle, curiously, has published just four tweets since January 31 (compared with the English-language handle, which tweets semi-hourly).
Transfluent, a private translation services firm, hopes to remedy this situation. They recently launched a $30,000 GoFundMe campaign to provide a continuously updated Spanish-language version of Whitehouse.gov for as long as the official White House Spanish-language website is down.
An unaffiliated website, LaCasaBlanca.com, went live on February 6; it’s a mirror image of the source material. But given the (exhaustingly) rapid pace at which the current administration is making moves and publishing statements about them, the translation team is behind by a handful of press releases – hence the need for cash.
Whether or not the official site will ever come back is anyone’s guess. And if it does, who’s to say whether the content will be identical? If you’re especially (and justifiably) skeptical about the prospect, check out this campaign and consider throwing them a few dollars here.