According to documents obtained by Insider through a Freedom of Information Act request, Donald Trump’s White House prevented dozens of federal agencies from launching new websites that would have assisted the homeless, fought human trafficking, and assisted voters.
Small and major departments alike requested new websites at a time when Trump had openly turned against his own administration, frequently deriding the federal government’s executive branch as a deranged “deep state” plotting to topple him.
More than two dozen agencies received rejection letters from Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, including the Departments of Defense, Labor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Proposed websites that Trump’s Office of Management and Budget rejected include HumanTrafficking.gov (Department of State); ReportFraud.gov (Federal Trade Commission); Telehealth.gov (Department of Health and Human Services), FindShelters.gov (Department of Housing and Urban Development), and FiscalData.gov (Department of the Treasury), according to federal records.
Such unique “.gov” website domains improve governmental organizations’ capacity to efficiently deliver and promote services to an almost entirely online American public.
Without them, agencies can still add new pages to their main websites, but doing so will result in subdomain names that are lengthy, forgettable, and full of slashes and hyphens –
No explanations for the Office of Management and Budget’s acceptance or denial of an agency’s request for a “.gov” website domain were provided in the papers which were obtained by Business Insider.
The 2024 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who officially launched it this week, has not received a response from any of his aides.
According to government records, the Trump White House often rejects and delays website requests from federal agencies, in sharp contrast to President Joe Biden’s White House, which has granted almost all requests.
According to the documents obtained by Insider, of the 105 “.gov” website requests that Trump’s Office of Management and Budget evaluated between July 2018 and the day Trump left office on January 20, 2021, it accepted 60, rejected 44, and left one pending, or a rejection percentage of 41.9%.
Between January 21, 2021, and September 9, 2022, Biden’s Office of Management and Budget evaluated 95 “.gov” website requests. Of those, it accepted 85, denied four, and noted six requests that were voluntarily withdrawn, for a rejection percentage of 4.2%.
FindShelters.gov was requested by Housing and Urban Development in late 2019 “for the establishment of a new platform that would provide information about housing, shelter, healthcare, and clothing services in cities around the country,” according to a statement.
The agency’s proposal was rejected by the Trump White House after two months of uncertainty. These resources can now be found at the URL https://www.hud.gov/homelessness resources on the agency’s main website.
HUD’s understanding of why its request was denied: “There has been a federal-wide ongoing effort to limit and reduce the number of federal public-facing websites. The effort was started to reduce cost and redundancy.”
The CIA requested permission from the Trump administration to utilize the website domain DataTransport.gov on December 23, 2019. The request was turned down by the Office of Management and Budget a week later.
“The domain was registered to support the IC’s data services program,” a source familiar with the matter said of the CIA’s request, with “IC” standing for “intelligence community.”
The normally apolitical Peace Corps requested approval for PeaceCorpsCN.gov, a website that refers to its work in China, in March 2019 from Trump’s Office of Management and Budget. Officials from the Office of Management and Budget denied the request at an undefined time.
“Per compliance with Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 18-01, the domain was requested at the time to enhance email and web security,” Peace Corps spokesman Troy Blackwell wrote in an email.
One of Trump’s favorite targets and subjects, the Peace Corps, had started the process of departing China by early 2020. Since then, the Peace Corps has not renewed its request for the PeaceCorpsCN.gov website.
“After Peace Corps closed the China post, we no longer needed the domain,” Blackwell said.
As of mid-November, the websites were not yet operational.