Shortly after President Donald Trump raised his right hand and took the Oath of Office, the Joining Forces page on WhiteHouse.gov went dark.
When Googled, the first link– which used to be the Obama administration’s official page– is now no longer part of the White House’s website and is, instead, housed at archives.gov. The URL, whitehouse.gov/joiningforces also redirects to the archived version. When using the search string “Joining Forces” on the official White House website, no hits appear that are related to the Joining Forces initiative.
Created in 2011 by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Joining Forces had the mission to work, advocate for, and raise awareness of the obstacles and difficulties military families face. The initiative has worked with private companies to put military-connected folks in careers, called on state legislatures to make license portability easier for military spouses, and expanded wellness services.
According to Military Times, Joining Forces had received “1.25 million hiring commitments for veterans and military spouses from its corporate partners. It also has helped broker legislation enabling spouses to transfer certifications across all 50 states.” Other highlights included more than 100 colleges training future educators on the needs of military children, 35 communities committing to reducing veteran homelessness, and a campaign “to raise awareness for mental health issues affecting the military community.”
While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton promised to keep the successful initiative, then-Republican nominee Trump was hesitant to state his support of the program. It will remain to be seen whether or not the new President will support the program– or something similar to it– in the future. However, right now, it seems that the future of the program is in jeopardy. The Trump administration’s issues include “Making Our Military Strong Again” with no mention of Joining Forces.
The Trump administration also deleted issues pages on civil rights, LGBT rights, health care, and climate change in the minutes following the official swearing-in ceremony.