Government agencies regularly update and expand their websites, but sometimes a new domain name is ideal for communicating pressing, targeted issues to the public. For example, rather than telling Americans who may wish to report fraud to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website and then click this or navigate to that, it’s much easier to direct people toward ReportFraud.gov.
Even though such an idea may seem quite reasonable and uncontroversial—or perhaps precisely because it does—the Trump administration had an awful habit of saying no when agencies have made such requests. Given that Donald Trump is a diabolical control freak who’s unashamedly anti-progress and anti-government, this revelation comes as no surprise.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Insider, records reveal that Trump’s White House rejected requests from “dozens” of federal agencies wishing to create new government websites. Under Trump’s reign, websites focused on fighting human trafficking, curbing homelessness, ending fraud, and helping voters were not allowed to exist.
The Trump administration considered requests for 105 new websites from July 2018 until the end of Trump’s failed term. According to Insider, Trump’s OMB accepted only 60 of them, denying 44 with one pending, leaving an ugly legacy of a 41.9% rejection rate.
In addition to ReportFraud.gov, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also rejected HumanTrafficking.gov, Telehealth.gov, FindShelters.gov, FiscalData.gov, and many more. As you might expect, the records offered no explanation for the OMB’s rejections, and both an OMB spokesperson and Trump 2024 campaign representatives refused to respond to Insider’s questions.
By contrast, the Biden administration considered 95 new website requests since taking office through September 9, 2022. President Joe Biden’s OMB accepted 85 requests and denied only four, with six requests voluntarily withdrawn. Over this period, Biden’s rejection rate was only 4.2%.
Despite its penchant for rejecting new websites, Trump’s OMB proved it possessed both the ability and the desire to greenlight certain websites very quickly. TrumpLibrary.gov and TrumpWhiteHouse.gov are two of just a few examples. Sigh.