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White House intern photo highlights lack of diversity in Trump administration

President Trump and the White House's spring 2018 intern class. Shealah Craighead/White House

WASHINGTON — The White House released a photo Friday of its spring 2018 interns — and the internet quickly noted a lack of people of color.

One reaction on Twitter: ‘‘I missed the fall intern photo, but last summer and this spring, the White House had a combined 206 interns. Among them: 3 black men. 0 black women. Out of 206.’’

Another person tweeted: ‘‘The White House intern photo is like a Where’s Waldo for a non-white person-in a country that is about 40% non-white.’’

On the other hand, it is possible that people of color weren’t eager to sign up to work in President Trump’s White House. Some of the president’s lowest approval marks come from people of color and millennials, according to Gallup.


The absence of diversity in the White House and administration as a whole has attracted attention since the earliest days of the Trump presidency.

When Omarosa Manigault Newman left in December from her post as the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, it was again a reminder of the absence of African-Americans in senior positions in Trump’s White House. She was the only black senior adviser.

‘‘As the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people,’’ she told ‘‘Good Morning America’’ after her departure.

While there are notable people of color in the Trump administration — Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley — Trump’s Cabinet is predominantly white.

The intern photo, and the photos of previous intern groups of the Trump White House, provided a window into understanding why there could be such low representation of people of color at top levels of the Trump administration: Diversity has to start at the bottom.