Vice President Mike Pence tweeted Wednesday that he hadmet with the summer 2017 White House interns. The official Snapchat account for the White House alsoshared a few photographs from the day.
But there was something particularly jarring about the pictures...
As many Twitter users noted, there are very few people of color in all the photographs. The majority of the interns are white.
This summer's intern class, predominantly white and male, was put on display earlier this week when President Donald Trump posed with them for a photo op Monday, leading the Twittersphere to comment on the overwhelming amount of white faces:
The lack of diversity among the White House interns has been a topic of discussion for quite a while. Last July, there was backlash after House Speaker Paul Ryan posted a selfie on Instagram with the Capitol Hill interns, who were also mostly white.
Ryan’s photo stood in stark contrast to a follow-up picture taken by a group of Democratic House interns and interns from the Congressional Black Caucus.
Their photograph was far more representativeof the country’s diversity:
According to The Washington Post, women are more than half of the U.S. population and “as of 2015, 44 percent of all people ages 18-34 are minorities.”
Those being groomed as the future of our government should look like our country. And they don’t.
President Donald Trump built a career shaping on-screen apprentices. Now his administration is becoming a magnet for interns who want to be stars.
Traditionally hailed as a path to public-sector employment, the White House Internship Program is drawing young applicants with media, entertainment and business bragging rights fit to serve a former reality television mogul.
Story Continued Below
“I appreciate a man who can speak his mind,” said Auburn University senior Anna Kelly, a political science major and beauty pageant contestant seeking one of the unpaid intern slots working for Trump, a onetime owner of the Miss Universe contest.
A Virginia native who has volunteered for Republicans for the past five years, Kelly says she’s eager to defend Trump from attacks in the press. “I think a lot of the coverage of this administration has been very biased and very unfair,” she said. “My ultimate lifetime dream job would be to be press secretary, especially to learn from someone like Sean Spicer.”
The initial application deadline on Friday night spurred a flurry of action from prospective candidates trying to stand out from the crowd and become the first intern class in the Trump White House, for the summer term from May 30 to Aug. 11. Along with a résumé and letters of recommendation, applicants were asked to submit essays demonstrating an interest in working for the Trump administration and a commitment to public service.
The Trump White House’s application added a field that didn’t exist when President Barack Obama adopted the program: social media details.
Josh Hall, an incoming freshman at Harrisburg Area Community College, hoped the White House would notice that histweets condemning the media mimic the president’s own style. “I started my Twitter as a political account six months ago. I have like 12,000 subscribers,” he said.
“I’d maybe be able to shed a lot of light on the bias that happens within the media,” Hall added. “I try and do that a lot of the time with my Twitter.”
One of Hall’s recenttweets: “The fact of the matter is #Manafort's Russian ties from YEARS AGO had no influence on the campaign or the election. This is FAKE NEWS!”
A fan of alt-right media darling Milo Yiannopoulos, Hall said he likes Trump because “he sounds like your average American.”
“He can be offensive at times,” Hall said. “There are things he says that I think go too far. But your average Americans do say kind of offensive things.”
Amy Dai, who’s studying business administration and cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, wants a White House internship even though she was an informal “Never Trump” libertarian. The appeal: a president who knows how to use the press.
Breaking News Alerts
Get breaking news when it happens — in your inbox.
By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time.
“He really knew how to leverage media, getting all that ad time for free,” says Dai, who has racked up media internships at Turner Broadcasting, NBC Universal and Disney ABC. “I love complaining on Twitter and usually I get my voice heard,” she said. “All the things I wouldn’t actually say in real life, I just post on Twitter.”
But one piece of her background may trigger alarms: Her side job in college hawking newspapers. “I’m a campus representative for The New York Times, which Donald Trump has said is fake news,” she said of her involvement promoting the paper through a collegiate marketing program.
Still, she sees the appeal of working in an administration rocked by controversy since its start. “It sets you up for every type of office environment,” Dai said. “Nothing would be as extreme as a Trump White House.”
The White House says it has not determined the number of interns who will be selected or the curriculum. “We are looking for applicants who are interested in learning about how government works and the importance of public service,” a spokesperson said.
The interns, who are considered government volunteers, will be assigned to a variety of departments, including those with key staff openings, the administration says.
The federal hiring freeze will not affect the program because interns are unpaid. And the summer class might get more work than usual in an administration that has yet to announce nominations for 489 of its top 553 posts requiring Senate confirmation, according to the most recent data from the Partnership for Public Service.
Christian Peele, who was promoted to run the Obama administration’s White House Internship Program for two years after interning herself, said it can be retooled to fit a president’s agenda. “It doesn’t have to be any one thing. You can shape it as a little extra workforce.”
Candidates who planned to apply as interns this year were touting qualifications that could make them a strong match with Trump’s background and useful to the White House staff.
“Having a business degree along with a political science degree would look more favorable,” said John McCracken, a senior at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. “I’d be able to distinguish myself better under a Trump administration.”
McCracken, who said he has supported Trump since the day he announced his candidacy, is fixated on the media but for a different reason from the president: It’s “always been my dream to go into journalism,” he says. He hopes to meet the White House press corps on the job.
George Mason University junior Yasser Aburdene is also working his business credentials. “I believe the administration will want more business and accounting or economics majors,” he said, pointing to his ongoing work with Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group for which he interned.
But Aburdene worries about standing out for a different reason: His grandparents are from the Middle East and he’s an immigrant who moved to the United States from Bolivia five years ago. “For me, for minorities, I think it will be more challenging to get in, just to be an intern,” he said. “I’m Hispanic with a Middle Eastern name. That’s the first challenge."
This article tagged under:
Missing out on the latest scoops? Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and get the latest news, every morning — in your inbox.
Trump’s White House seeks new apprentices
A Twitter provocateur and a pageant contender are among the prospective White House interns inspired by Trump’s unconventional presidency.
By HANNA TRUDO