The White House temporarily shut down an Obama-era petition tool in a move officials say will save U.S. taxpayers $1.3 million annually.
The Trump administration said it will reopen the We the People website in late-January and will restore all existing petitions and responses after the platform undergoes maintenance.
The “We the People” website was launched in 2011 under former president Barack Obama, and has often been used to create viral joke petitions.
In 2013, citizens petitioned the “construction of a Death Star.” In 2014, Americans demanded the deportation of Canadian singer Justin Bieber in a petition that garnered 274,000 signatures.
The Obama administration responded by writing: “Sorry to disappoint, but we won’t be commenting on this one.”
When signatures reach 100,000, the White House sometimes issues a response. But that does not mean it will take action on any of the requests. In 2015, the Obama White House took two years to respond to a request to pardon Edward Snowden.
Since President Trump took office, 17 petitions have been launched, mostly by his detractors. Among them are demands that he release his tax returns and another asking him to resign.
The Trump White House has not responded to any of the petitions yet. But that’s okay. Former president Obama never responded to a July 2016 request demanding that his ally, Hillary Clinton, be charged for sending and receiving classified government emails on an unsecured server (see above).
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