What better way to choose a White House renovation as her last project of President Trump’s first term in office than one that the world will see? First Lady Melania Trump plans to make the Rose Garden great again.
Promising a “significant renewal” of the space, while restoring it “to its original ’62 footprint,” the project is estimated to take about three weeks. Depending on when it gets underway, it should be finished in plenty of time for some press conferences to be held there before the November election. The Rose Garden is being used a lot these days. Trump holds press briefings with the coronavirus task force there, ceremonial signings, and hosts press conferences with foreign leaders there, too. It’s referred to as the “Rose Garden strategy”, a term coined long before Trump was elected because it is a perfect setting for presidents to booster a campaign message or to raise interest in an initiative or policy. A State Dinner was held in the Rose Garden for Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison last September.
Remember when Obama used the Rose Garden to push Obamacare as something the medical community really wanted? His staff passed out white coats to lots of people so they could stand behind Obama and look like doctors. The New York Times describes the space as “a signature showcase of power used by presidents for decades.” As with other renovation projects, this will be paid for with private donations, not taxpayers.
The project, which includes electrical upgrades for television appearances, a new walkway and new flowers and shrubs, is meant to be an “act of expressing hope and optimism for the future,” according to remarks Mrs. Trump delivered to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House on Monday morning. “Our country has seen difficult times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always stood as a symbol of our strength, resilience and continuity.”
Mrs. Trump’s project, which will be supported by the National Park Service and funded by private donations, according to the White House, began in earnest last year and should take three weeks to complete, an administration official said.
Updates to the electrical infrastructure will make it easier to televise the president. According to a landscape report submitted by the preservation committee and shared with The New York Times, the plan will also add two limestone walkways, one to the inner perimeter of the garden. The second, 85 feet long with a diamond pattern, will stretch from the Palm Room to the south grounds.
The plan will also replace crab apple trees with white rose shrubs and add new drainage systems. A new assortment of white “J.F.K.” and pale pink “peace” roses will also be planted.
“In a way, the metaphor of openness and improved access became our overall plan concept,” Perry Guillot, the landscape architect overseeing the project, wrote in a memo summarizing the changes.
Sounds good, right? The Rose Garden is on a half-acre of land and was first introduced by the wife of former President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. It received a major renovation during the JFK years under the supervision of Jackie Kennedy in 1961. Nancy Reagan addressed some problems with the crab apple trees in 1981 but nothing else had been done there.
“The Committee for the Preservation of the White House was invited to advise the White House team on the restoration of the Rose Garden, an outdoor ‘room’ of the White House that has served as the stage for so many important events in our history,” Leslie Bowman, a member of the panel, said in a statement. “Such a project deserves the same museum standard of research and deliberation that is accorded the first- and second-floor public rooms of the nation’s ‘house,’ and the committee was pleased to be invited to participate.”
The First Lady works with the White House Historical Association. Her press secretary, Stephanie Grisham said in a statement ” The historical significance of the Rose Garden “inspired the first lady to dedicate her time and effort into ensuring scholar and historic preservation went into every detail of the renovation.”
Melania Trump studied architecture in college and has been active in focusing on aesthetic upgrades at the White House. She has updated several living areas and features of the White House grounds. The White House bowling alley and the tennis pavilion have been renovated. You may remember that the tennis pavilion, her last big project, was heavily criticized by Trump critics, because, of course, it was. This project is experiencing the same hate from them, too.
To go along with her new tennis court, Melania is re-doing the Rose Garden. Very Versailles! https://t.co/rsIAccCRDZ
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) July 27, 2020
Even disgraced Katie Hill chimed in:
That’s some Marie Antoinette shit right there. https://t.co/oA2UZ1r72M
— Katie Hill (@KatieHill4CA) July 27, 2020
The Rose Garden renovations will be on display for the world to view. Future stories will have to give her credit for the renovation, which will aggravate her hateful critics, so it’s a win-win. She’s not starting from scratch, she’s keeping the original landscaping in place while updating and modernizing it, like with the electrical upgrades for media coverage of events held there. Melania Trump serves as the honorary chair of the Committee for the Preservation of The White House.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 27, 2020