White House Faces Renewed Criticism Over Lack of Diversity in Intern Program

White House Faces Renewed Criticism Over Lack of Diversity in Intern Program

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By Tom Porter, newsweek.com

 

"Diversity this ain't," tweeted one critic of a picture showing 2018's White House spring interns

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The White House has been criticized for lack of diversity in its spring intern program, after a photograph released Friday showed only a handful of this year's 91 participants are non-white.

 

In the image released Friday, President Donald Trump smiles while posing alongside members of the intern program, who will perform duties including research, drafting memos, staffing events and fielding inquiries.

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three-fifths of America's population is non-Hispanic white. In the photograph, white interns appear to make up a far higher proportion of the group.

 

"Diversity this ain't," tweeted France 24 White House correspondent Philip Crowther.

 

According to a 2016 survey by Edison Research, 58 percent of white voters voted for Trump and only 21 percent of non-white voters.

 

White House internships are filled through open applications.

 

"This hands-on program is designed to mentor and cultivate today's young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office, and prepare them for future public service opportunities,' the description of the program reads.

 

Critics pointed out that photographs of White House interns during the Obama administration showed a far higher proportion of participants from ethnically diverse backgrounds. 

 

The Trump administration has faced criticism about the lack of diversity in its intake of interns before, with photographs shared by the White House in June 2017 showing Vice President Mike Pence addressing a mostly white groups of summer interns.

 

In December, a male intern made a hand sign interpreted as a symbol of the alt-right white nationalist movement while posing for a White House photograph. The intern said the gesture was an 'OK' sign, and did not have the significance alleged.