Just before she is set to take the pulpit at the Republican National Convention to deliver an address endorsing her husband, President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump revealed the major mark she is leaving on the White House. On Saturday, the first lady officially revealed her White House Garden renovations, which she announced in late July.
Joined by her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, members of the CPWH, Administration officials, other key partners who contributed to the project, and members of the press, the first lady unveiled the three-week project on Saturday, also sharing images for the public to see on Twitter. The garden now boasts a more toned-back and neutral design, featuring pastels. The renovations also included the addition of a diamond-like shape of boxwoods and taller white roses, which the Associated Press reports were in honor of the first papal visit to the White House by Pope John Paul II in 1979. A seating area on the east side of the garden was also removed and is to be replaced by an art installation.
According to a press release from the White House, and as the first lady touched on during her remarks, the renovations "returned the garden to its original 1962 blueprint designed by Bunny Mellon during the Kennedy Administration." However, many on social media couldn't help but notice the stark differences between Jackie Kennedy's Rose Garden and Melania's renovated Rose Garden, most notably the roughly dozen crabapple trees planted in the garden by Kennedy that are now absent. Those crabapple trees will reportedly be planted elsewhere on the White House property.
The first lady is scheduled to deliver her RNC 2020 speech from the Rose Garden Tuesday. Meanwhile, Trump will deliver his own address from the White House’s South Lawn on Thursday, the final night of the event. The move to deliver speeches from the White House breaks with federal norms, with federal rules prohibiting the White House from being the setting for expressly political events. The decision to host the addresses at the White House, however, comes as the RNC goes mostly virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.