The Trump administration has removed a White House tool that the public has used to express their grievances regarding various issues. The move to remove the White House petition tool comes after Trump’s White House has remained silent about the petitions that had been created over the past 11 months, according to the Associated Press. The White House promises that the petition platform will be restored in the future, but the public isn’t so sure about those claims to reinstate the petition tool in January with new improvements. The petitions that were previously on the site will be restored as well, with those petitions that were able to gain at least 100,000 signatures in 2017 receiving replies beginning next year.
At least 17 White House petitions had gotten the minimum 100,000 signatures that were required to receive a “yay” or “nay” response from the White House when the tool was taken down. The petition site was mainly used by vocal critics of the Trump administration, but Trump’s team has said that the tool is disappearing by midnight Tuesday and should be back in business by January 31, 2018.
Critics worry that the popular petitions that had once appeared on the White House website, such as one asking for President Donald Trump to show the public his tax returns, might end up disappearing altogether, never to return. Another popular petition criticized the threat to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
According to the Hill, the “We The People” petitions website launched in 2011 by former President Barack Obama. The website on the official WhiteHouse.gov page, once titled “Petition the White House on the Issues that Matter to You,” urged citizens to create their own petitions and bring to the attention of the White House those matters that were important to them. The petitions that went viral and gained at least 100,000 signatures within a time period of 30 days were promised to receive “an official update from the White House within 60 days.”
Apparently, Trump’s White House did not believe in upholding that promise, since none of the 17 petitions that met that criteria had received any type of response since January 20, when Trump took the office of the presidency. Those visiting the White House petitions website currently are being met with the following message.
“Thank you for your interest in Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov. To improve this site’s performance, the platform is currently down for maintenance and will return in late January. All existing petitions and associated signatures have been preserved and will be available when the site is relaunched. Following the site’s relaunch, petitions that have reached the required number of signatures will begin receiving responses. To receive updates from the White House about Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov and other issues enter your email below. You can also contact the White House at any time using this form.”