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Biden used a secret message on the White House website to put out a call for coders

Published Jan 21st, 2021 4:14PM EST
White House website
Image: Doug Mills - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • In an effort to quickly leave its stamp across government, the Biden administration even left a secret message on the White House website.
  • The message from the administration of President Biden, who was inaugurated as the 46th president on Wednesday, asks coders to consider joining the US Digital Service.
  • The service was set up in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

President Joe Biden

planned to sign a flurry of executive orders on Thursday during his first full day of work at the White House, with the orders largely focused on things like shaping a new, coordinated federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. A requirement for people to wear face masks in airplanes, in addition to expanding the US COVID vaccine manufacturing capacity, were among the targets of these orders.

Meantime, this is not the only example of how different the Biden White House already is from the recently departed Trump administration. The differences even extend to the White House website, where Biden’s team moved quickly to put its stamp there and imbue it with the philosophy of the boss. For starters, the White House contact page now asks people who write in with comments to select which pronoun they prefer. And the Biden team also left a secret message elsewhere on the White House website.

Within the HTML code is an invitation for coders to volunteer to join the US Digital Service, which Reuters notes is a technology unit within the White House. The term of service is generally for 1-2 years, and the unit was set up by President Barack Obama in 2014 to woo tech-savvy specialists into government service to help modernize them for the digital age.

“If you’re reading this, we need your help building back better,” the hidden message says on the Biden White House website, with that message including the “build back better” slogan that was a mantra of the president on the campaign trail.

Meantime, the coronavirus pandemic response plan that Biden laid out on Thursday includes, for the first time, an over-arching federal effort. The Trump administration had preferred much of this kind of work, in contrast, to happen at the state level, which resulted in a patchwork, imperfect US response to the pandemic.

The elements of Biden’s new plan include:

  • Using the Defense Production Act to speed up vaccine production
  • Aiming to complete 100 million vaccinations in Biden’s first 100 days
  • Setting up vaccine centers in places like stadiums and conference centers
  • And opening most K-8 schools in Biden’s first 100 days.

“While we will urgently execute the strategy, we do need Congress to act — and act quickly,” Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said in a call with reporters. “Congress must provide the necessary funding in the COVID relief package, the American Rescue Plan, that the president will soon be sending them.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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