Before President Obama, the Whitehouse.gov site was basically one giant repository for press releases. But his digital team transformed it into something dynamic. From championing important issues, like LGBT rights and the environment, to giving citizens a platform for their petitions, Whitehouse.gov was like a beta test for an open government.
And then Trump came in.
His transition team didn’t build its own site, as Obama’s had (and Hillary Clinton’s did, anticipating a win). Instead, Trump’s administration used Obama’s existing design, but scrubbed it of inconvenient truths like “climate change.”
In Washington D.C., I met with the three successive creative leads on Whitehouse.gov who worked under President Obama. They shared the frustration of what it’s like, seeing such an open, public service usurped for another agenda. They also offered a word of warning: We live in a time of alternative facts. The administration has the keys to all sorts of American history on Whitehouse.gov. As a result, not only does Trump have the power to scrub away the important issues of our time; he also has the ability to rewrite American history as we know it–at least in this one place, the website of America.