WASHINGTON — The moment that Donald Trump took the oath of office and became the 45th President, a transformation occurred — online.
Simultaneous with the formal transfer of power that occurred on the steps of our nation’s Capitol, the entire White House digital presence was changed over.
The White House website changed from the administration of former President Barack Obama to that of Trump.
As a result, it appeared to Internet users that the Obama administration had vanished — tweets and all. Numerous social media posts noted Friday afternoon that former webpages that hosted White House policies on climate change and LGBT rights were no longer available.
But the transformation was much larger and covered every policy area. The Obama-era digital footprint was archived and those pages were migrated to the archived Obama administration website.
At the same time, White House Twitter accounts like the @POTUS, @FLOTUS, @VP, @PresSec and @WhiteHouse were changed to match their new owners.
The switchover was planned as part of the formal presidential transition, as the National Archives and Records Administration prepared to preserve all the material from the Obama administration.
As explained in a pre-election blog post now available at the Obama White House website, all digital properties were started fresh for the Trump administration.
“Similar to the Clinton and Bush White House websites, President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov will be preserved on the web and frozen after January 20th and made available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov,” former White House digital staffer Kori Schulman wrote. “The incoming White House will receive the WhiteHouse.gov domain and all content that has been posted to WhiteHouse.gov during the Obama administration will be archived with NARA.”
Trump’s new White House website already had several policies posted on it, including about trade, law enforcement, energy and foreign policy.
The National Records and Archives Administration preserves documents and material from the US federal government of historical significance going back to the nation’s founding, including the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Obama, his wife and advisers created new Twitter accounts, and the @POTUS and @FLOTUS accounts were transformed around noon on Friday with pictures of Trump and his wife, Melania, and cleared of previous tweets. Followers were migrated.
Already the new administration had continued one tradition started by the Obama White House — receiving citizens’ petitions.
Within hours, two petitions had been created on We The People — to release Donald Trump’s tax returns and for him to fully divest from his business interests.