Fact Check

Did President Trump Make English the U.S. Official Language?

Clickbait articles claiming President Trump had designated English as the official language of the U.S. documented no such thing.

Published Feb. 9, 2017

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President Trump has established English as the official language of the United States.

A common tactic of clickbait web sites is to publish items via social media under sensationalist political headlines in order to lure readers into following their links. What readers typically find at the other end of those links, however, are articles whose substance bears little or no relationship to their melodramatic headlines.

Multiple sites played on this technique in January 2017 by aggregating headline claims such as "President Trump Makes ENGLISH The OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF THE United States!" But the text of the articles those sites pushed on social media described no legislation or order signed by President Trump establishing English as the United States' official language — only the (possibly temporary) removal of bilingual elements from the White House web site:

President Trump, who chided his opponents during the campaign for speaking Spanish, has made a tangible change to the White House website to eliminate bilingual access. The site, which the Trump administration took over, no longer includes an option for translation into Spanish.

Spokesman Sean Spicer suggested the translation option may return but made no specific commitment on timing when asked about it. He spoke generally about the high volume of work facing the technology team during the changeover.

Although English is the most commonly spoken language in the United States, and although several individual states have established English as their official language, the United States has not designated an official language at the federal level.


World Atlas.   "The Most Spoken Languages in America."     19 September 2016.

Bierman, Noah.   "No Habla Espanol? The White House Website No Longer Speaks Spanish."     Los Angeles Times.   23 January 2017.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.