On Friday, the Trump administration released a photo of its spring season interns standing with President Donald Trump, showing a huge number of young people getting to rub elbows with the president of the United States. The denizens of social media noticed something about the image immediately, however, and it's generated some controversy ― specifically because the photo of its interns puts the White House's lack of diversity squarely under the spotlight.
However you want to look at it, there's one thing that's very clear about the photo of the White House's many interns: they're almost all white. By the numbers, the Trump administration has been one of the whitest in recent presidential memory, a stark departure from the relatively diverse Obama administration. That seems to be true of its interns for the spring season, too.
It's worth noting that there are a few faces of color in the assembled crowd, but only just a few. By and large, the photo shows an overwhelmingly white group of interns, with the president standing in the middle of all of them. It's fair to say that plenty of people on Twitter noticed this, and it elicited some pretty strong reactions.
It's not surprising that social media so quickly noticed and pounced on the startling lack of diversity shown in the image. The Trump administration has been involved a number of race-related controversies since the president's inauguration, including his reported derogatory remarks about immigrants, and his response to last year's Charlottesville neo-Nazi rallies.
As displayed in the above tweet from WBZ's Anaridis Rodriguez, images from intern classes in both the administrations of Trump and former president George W. Bush show far less diversity than one from Obama's tenure. This is not surprising, as Obama's administration was the most diverse in American history.
Of course, not all of the social media reactions were of the serious or comparative sort. To the contrary, some people took the opportunity to crack some jokes about it ― after all, that's a big part of what social media is for.
For a sense of perspective, according to the U.S. Census, nearly 40 percent of the American populace is non-white. As such, if you're looking for a group of young people who accurately represent the demographics of the country, well... you're looking in the wrong place if you're looking at the Trump administration's internship program, suffice to say.
It remains to be seen whether the Trump administration will ever move away from its overwhelmingly white, male makeup. According to a recent analysis by The Atlantic, the White House has named twice as many men to appointed positions as it has women.
Back in March of 2017, The New York Times detailed that Trump's cabinet was more white and male than any first cabinet since that of former president Ronald Reagan, more than 30 years ago.
This is not the first time the Trump administration's internship program has been scrutinized for a lack of diversity. Last summer, a photo of the season's interns featuring Vice President Mike Pence drew similar attention, owing to the very low number of people of color pictured.
Of course, it's impossible to know for certain just why this keeps happening. On the one hand, it could be that the White House just happens to keep welcoming in an overwhelming majority of white interns. It could also be that, given some of the administration's right-wing policies and offensive statements on race, gender, and immigration, fewer applicants of color are interested in becoming White House interns. Whatever the explanation may be, however, the outcome is very clear.