Fact Check: Did the Biden Administration Remove the White House Petitioning System?

At his inauguration, President Joe Biden pledged to restore democracy and declared that the will of the people had been heard. But his detractors are now pointing to an allegedly missing page from the White House website as evidence against these proclamations.

"We the People," an online petitioning system launched by President Barack Obama's administration, is said to have been removed without explanation.

The Claim

On Tuesday, the Ron Paul Institute, responding to an article published by the anti-imperialist website antiwar.com, decried the Biden administration for allegedly taking down a White House petitioning system that allowed citizens to start campaigns. Once the campaigns reached at least 100,000, the White House was required to respond.

"It appears that the 'We the People' petition system has been taken off the White House website," the Ron Paul Institute posted to its blog. "This is a terrible event, and it must be publicized, and Biden must be made to reverse this decision."

Biden Removes ‘We the People’ Petitioning From White House Websitehttps://t.co/lXI26iSsU9 pic.twitter.com/oiTyztbjsl

— Ron Paul Institute (@RonPaulInstitut) February 16, 2021

The Facts

In 2011, the Obama White House debuted a new section of whitehouse.gov where users could create, browse and sign online petitions that, under most circumstances, would require a government response once they reached 100,000 signatures.

Criminal proceedings and many federal processes were exempt from this, and the platform functioned mainly as a public relations tool for citizens to express themselves and communicate their concerns to the White House. Many petitions were created tongue-in-cheek, and some might remember a playful 2012 petition for the federal government to create a Death Star as an economy-driving enterprise.

Biden Removes ‘We the People’ Petitioning From White House Website
Citizens lose an important tool to make their voices heardhttps://t.co/anS2hWg1ON pic.twitter.com/VKClz8SRUZ

— Antiwar.com (@Antiwarcom) February 15, 2021

When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his administration removed the "We the People" page, sparking outrage and media response. The Washington Post reported that several petitions demanding Trump release his tax returns and resign reached well over 100,000 signatures before the page was removed with a note saying it was undergoing maintenance.

Eventually, the petitioning system returned, but the page disappeared the day of Biden's inauguration. Previous links redirect to the White House homepage.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday regarding the reason for the page's removal or whether the petitioning system would return. Archives of the page from previous administrations still are accessible.

The Ruling

True.

The "We the People" system is nowhere to be found on the White House website. The reason behind its removal has not been released.

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President Joe Biden speaks during the Celebrating America inaugural program at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2021, after being sworn in at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the day. JOSHUA ROBERTS/POOL/AFP/Getty