In his inaugural address on Friday, Donald Trump said that ordinary people would be heard under his administration.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” he proclaimed. “Everyone is listening to you now.”
But his actions already contradict his words.
ThinkProgress repeatedly called the number and received the same message each time: “Thank you for calling the White House comments line. The comment line is currently closed.”
The line was reportedly deactivated during the transition, but has not been turned back on by the Trump team.
Immigrant rights groups noticed the comment line’s shutdown Friday, just after Trump took the oath of office. Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), told ThinkProgress in a statement, “Last time I checked we were still a democracy. We the people have a right to be heard, and government officials have an obligation to hear our views. It is unprecedented and deeply disturbing. for any administration to turn off the switchboard to the American public.”
Now, citizens are instead urged to go to the White House web form or Facebook messenger to send a message to the president. This would seem to indicate that the 13 percent of American adults who do not use the Internet have, just days into Trump’s presidency, been forgotten.
The administration’s online citizen communication has also caused some embarrassment for the new administration. The number one petition on the White House’s We the People petition site, with more than 264,000 signatures, is a call for the immediate release of Donald Trump’s tax returns — something Trump claimed earlier this month was only of concern to reporters.
The White House told the Los Angeles Times on Monday that it plans to eventually reopen the phone comment line, but has no current timetable for doing so. “We’re still learning how to work our computers,” a press team member explained to the paper.
This post has been updated to include comments from Kica Matos and to note that the line was reportedly turned off during the transition period.