The US state department has refused to deny to The New Daily that Australians have been barred from touring Trump’s White House, supporting reports that all foreign nationals will have tour requests denied indefinitely.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced on March 7 the official reopening of public tours of the official presidential home and headquarters.
An official White House statement tells foreign nationals to ask their embassies in Washington, DC for “assistance in submitting a tour request”.
But the website of the Australian embassy to the US warns Australians that White House tours are “not currently possible”.
The warning was first published on the website between February 2014 and January 2015, during the Obama administration, and has appeared there ever since. It has not been removed since US President Donald Trump took office.
“The White House website states that foreign nationals should contact their Embassy to arrange a tour. However, public tours for foreign nationals must be requested via an Embassy AND the U.S. Department of State. This is not currently possible as the U.S. Department of State has NOT facilitated Embassy-sponsored public tours of The White House since 2011,” the Australian government website warns.
The New Daily sought clarification from the US state department. Specifically, we asked the department to confirm or deny whether foreign visitors have been either banned or put “on hold”.
A US state department official did not deny the reports. In an official statement, they simply repeated the original White House statement.
“On March 7, the White House announced the official reopening of public tours. Foreign nationals interested in a public tour of the White House should submit a request through their embassy,” the US official said.
Further evidence of a freeze has been reported by The Independent, a British publication, which quoted the British embassy to the US as saying that White House tours by foreign nationals were “on hold”.
“The White House website states that foreign nationals interested in touring the White House should contact their Embassy to arrange a tour,” the British embassy told The Independent.
“However, the Embassy has been advised by the US Department of State that this is on hold. We are therefore unable to process any applications at this time.”
The New Daily has been in contact with the US embassy in Australia and will update if the US state department changes its position.
Until that happens, it seems any Australian who requests White House tours through official embassy channels will have the request denied.