Twitter users have been poring over photos of a recent White House event honoring military spouses and moms, wondering why there appeared to be no male spouses and few people of color.
Wednesday’s gathering was held as President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding government job opportunities for military spouses.
Photos from the event, including those posted on Ivanka Trump’s Twitter page featuring a “listening session” with military spouses last year, show an audience overwhelmingly dominated by white women. The first daughter also posted a photo showing members of the Air Force Officers’ Spouses’ Club at an April luncheon where she spoke. Those spouses, too, were overwhelmingly white and female.
Racial and ethnic minority groups made up 40 percent of Defense Department active-duty military members in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1990, according to the Pew Research Center.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Today @POTUS signed an EO to promote military spouse hiring across ALL federal agencies. To our #MilitarySpouses: Your courage often goes unnoticed, but that makes it all the more heroic. We are committed to supporting you & your families, as you & yours selflessly serve us. pic.twitter.com/29jq3ra5ND
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 10, 2018
Over the past year @KellyannePolls & I have been convening experts to understand the employment barriers faced by #MilitarySpouses. 47% of the 600K+ military spouses describe finding work / managing their careers as their greatest source of stress. We are working to address this! pic.twitter.com/1Ok3FGuvO4
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 9, 2018
Melania Trump’s tweet focused on military moms at the White House event:
We had a wonderful celebration @Whitehouse today to honor some incredible military moms for #MothersDay. My heart & continued prayers stay w/ all our brave military members. I’m proud to support @POTUS in today’s signing to help increase opportunities for military families. pic.twitter.com/VCs8KsScOF
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 9, 2018
Tweeters took particular aim at Ivanka Trump’s photos, including the picture of the officers’ wives. Some complaints bear the hashtag #BeWhite, a play on the first lady’s new “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign.
What’s up with the photo of all the women? Where are the male spouses? And I don’t think these photos reflect the diverse nature (and true demographics) of our military forces. #MilitarySpouses
— CB (@cabaute) May 11, 2018
Most diverse organization in government. You couldn’t find any other that white female military spouses? #bebetter
— Leah (@Leah64299466) May 11, 2018
40% of the military isn't white. Did they not count?
— S (@vidiot_) May 11, 2018
And no multicultural spouses? No spouses of color? Hmmmm I do believe there are many in the military!
— carol prange (@caprange) May 11, 2018
The Military is one of the most diverse organizations in this country- but you could only find white spouses???? You should be ashamed.
— Catherine Cornwall (@catcornwall) May 11, 2018
Jesus Christ. Who knew our military was totally white?
— Ms K (@youngandscrappy) May 11, 2018
You can't even have ONE black person in three groups? Or did your dad re-segregate the Armed Forces when I wasn't looking? Do all the people you are willing to help vote Republican?
— Mary Michel Green (@marymichelgreen) May 10, 2018
The Trump clan thinks that only white soldiers count.
— Warren Lauzon (@windsun33) May 11, 2018
— Panic Brewer (@Panicbrewer) May 10, 2018
Um, where are the wives of color? Not even ONE???? #shameful
— 4th Wave Feminist ?️?⚖️ (@CantQuitYa2017) May 11, 2018
Lacking diversity – what an insult to military families. Get a clue.
— Courtney Benedict (@CinnamonGirl497) May 10, 2018
Blinded by the white….
— brian wayne (@BrianinNEK) May 11, 2018
Would be interesting to know how they culled this group. As a military spouse myself, I have to say, I have never seen such a non-diverse gathering in the military since they integrated the forces in 1948.
— Sheryl Wragg (@sher_wr) May 10, 2018
At Wednesday’s event, Trump also boasted ― falsely ― that he was responsible for getting members of the military a pay raise for the first time in a decade. In fact, service members have gotten raises every year for more than four decades.
“Trump seems confused about military pay,” The Military Times said.
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