Summer is around the corner, and for a select group of young Americans, that means the chance to serve in the White House as an intern. But the internship program is getting its fair share of negative feedback as the photo of Donald Trump's 2018 White House interns is drawing major criticism both on- and offline. The official class photo for the 2018 White House internship program was released on Friday, March 30.
Most of the backlash centers around the overwhelming presence of apparently white interns, while there are relatively few interns of color. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment about the diversity of this year's internship class but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
On Twitter, users began to take note of key differences between this intern class and ones before it. Former deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu points out that the ratio of white to non-white interns in this year's photo stands in stark contrast with the ratio from years prior. And he certainly wasn't alone in drawing attention to the disparity.
"When I saw it at first, I thought, how does that happen?" Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet told CNN on Monday. "This photo, I think, is the output of an administration that just didn't put a priority in the people that they selected to reflect the diversity of America." Sweet added that previous administrations made a point to fill the program with a more diverse makeup.
"Trump is taking the word 'white' in the White House WAY too seriously," tweeted CNN's Van Jones. "Even Baskin & Robbins has 31-derful flavors. Why should White House interns be Vanilla only (with only one chocolate chip)??"
Multiple users also joked that trying to find a non-white person in the class photo was akin to Where's Waldo?, and it's understandable why, given the lone intern in the bottom left who wasn't white. This odd-man-out scenario also prompted many on Twitter to draw a parallel between the 2018 class of interns and the movie Get Out.
Lots of users also compared side by side the 2018 interns and the respective classes from the Obama administration.
"The thing that disturbs me about that White House intern photo isn't just the overwhelming lack of diversity. It's that all the women are sitting That Way Women Are Supposed To Sit," tweeted Emily Gorcenski.
"Notice anything wrong with this picture?," tweeted Sirius XM host Joe Madison. "These are the White House interns. Emphasis on white."
George Takei apparently didn't feel the need to give much commentary.
Per the U.S. Census Bureau, only about 62 percent of the U.S. overall population is non-Latino white. But those numbers shift significantly when you look just at the millennial age group. Among 18-34 year olds, the ratio of whites to minorities in the country is much closer to 50-50. Such a ratio was nowhere to be seen in the 2018 intern photo. Per the White House, the goal in the internship program is to make it "accessible to Americans across our nation."
New York University professor Ian Bremmer tried to put some context of his own around the group. "The Trump White House interns could be the whitest group I've ever encountered," he tweeted. "And I'm including the Nantucket Yacht Club."
The Washington Post's Eugene Scott draws a connection between the lack of diversity in the intern class and a similar trend in Trump's cabinet. With the departure of Omarosa Manigault earlier this year, only a few senior-level cabinet members are people of color.
To be fair, that this year's class lacked diversity wasn't exactly an unexpected outcome. The same question was posed in 2017 when Trump's first intern class photo was released in July.