The White House Rose Garden has undergone a major makeover just days before First Lady Melania Trump will deliver a speech there during the Republican National Convention on Tuesday. The first lady showed off photos of the new look early Saturday, and many were not happy. Aside from the pastel-colored flowers in the garden, there are few splashes of color, and before-and-after photos show several trees were removed.
The White House said the renovations were paid with private donations, and they did not reveal how much it cost, reports The Associated Press. It took three weeks to renovate the garden, which was inspired by the original 1962 look implemented by Rachel "Bunny" Mellon during President John F. Kennedy's administration. The garden includes taller white roses in honor of Pope John Paul II's visit to the White House in 1979. There are also new diamond-shape boxwoods. Twelve crabapple trees were removed and will be replanted at the White House grounds.
The new design also includes a three-foot-wide limestone walking path around the central lawn. The renovation plan, which was announced earlier this year, also includes technical fixes and improving the infrastructure to make it easily accessible for people with disabilities. "Protecting the historic integrity of the White House landscape is a considerable responsibility, and we will fulfill our duty as custodians of the public trust," Trump said when announcing the renovations.
The first lady will be using the Rose Garden as a backdrop for her RNC speech. President Donald Trump will give his speech on Thursday on the White House South Lawn, where a stage is under construction. The Trump family will be the first to deliver convention speeches at the White House, a move that has sparked plenty of controversies. Critics have accused Trump of using the White House as a political prop, delivering speeches attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, and hosting other campaign-style events.prevnext
If this isn’t a Marie Antionette moment I don’t know what is. Who cares about a redesigned rose garden when we’re in the middle of a pandemic, 175k+ people are dead and millions are out of work? https://t.co/x5APCx4bGv— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) August 22, 2020
The House Oversight Committee is questioning if the speech will be a violation of another federal law which bars the coercion of federal employees to take part in political activities, reports Politico. There were also concerns about the speech violating the Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from taking part in some political activities. However, the president and vice president are not covered by the act.prevnext
I'm really pissed about the Rose Garden. It's a minor thing, I know, but it's our house not Melania's and the garden was designed by Jackie Kennedy and was still beautiful.
She ruined it.— Leslie - 73 Days 🇺🇲🌊 (@Leslieoo7) August 22, 2020
Dear @JoeBiden ,— Daphne L Portis🌊✈🇺🇸 (@MissLynneNYC) August 22, 2020
America is heartbroken over what Melania did to Jackie Kennedy's Rose Garden.😢💔
I know you'll have a lot on your plate, but when you move in, can you please put it back the way it was?❤❤❤ pic.twitter.com/AVxmWnKEmf
Before and after pics of the White House Rose Garden show that — just like with Donald— everything that Melania touches gets destroyed. What a shame that she cut down those beautiful trees and, of course, added a concrete walkway so she won’t sink her designer stiletto heels. 🤬 pic.twitter.com/01bgNlvUAB— Robert Cooper 🌊 (@RobertCooper58) August 22, 2020
What Melania Trump has done to the Rose Garden can never be forgiven. She literally gutted Jackie Kennedys garden tribute to her husband, JFK. That Rose Garden was part of our history and she destroyed it. pic.twitter.com/zMuv4tILtC— J-Molls #BlackLivesMatter (@MamaMolly2018) August 22, 2020
Why would they cut down those beautiful trees? Of course added ugly pavement so Melania's stilletoes won't sink into the dirt.— Bonnie🇺🇸We Have Her Back (@BonniBK) August 22, 2020