[COMMENTARY] Twitter Shreds Melania’s Rose Garden Renovation
Melania Trump decided to waste taxpayer dollars during a pandemic to make the White House Rose Garden look more like the grounds of a very large mausoleum, and Twitter is taking her to task for Trumpifying it.
Originally established by First Lady Ellen Wilson in 1913, the space that became a “colonial garden” during the Roosevelt Administration fell into disrepair in the years preceding Kennedy’s term. Jackie Kennedy worked closely with horticulturist Rachel Lambert Mellon and Perry Wheeler on the redesign and replanting of the entire Rose and East Gardens. The Rose Garden had been completed when President Kennedy’s was assassinated in November 1963, while revitalization on the East Garden was still a work in progress. To further honor Jacqueline Kennedy’s contributions to the White House and its grounds, her immediate successor, Lady Bird Johnson, renamed the East Garden as the “Jacqueline Kennedy Garden” in 1965.
While subsequent First Ladies have used the Rose Garden to host events or display additional art, none of them have ever made any significant permanent changes to the grounds. In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama updated and expanded the White House Vegetable Garden that had been originally created in 1800.
When the Trumps took over occupying the White House, Melania Trump unenthusiastically assumed the mantle of First Lady and only seemed to perk up when given the chance to redecorate and remove her predecessors’ legacies. Her Christmas decorations have been excoriated by critics as being cold and impersonal.
The project was criticized before it began, with many taking note that it seemed inappropriate to spend so much money on such a luxury when people are dying in record numbers from the coronavirus, but this administration has never been known for expressing any empathy for what is going on outside the bubble of the White House grounds.
Side-by-side photos of what the Rose Garden looked like before and after Melania’s makeover show the stark contrast between Jackie Kennedy’s warm and colorful original vision and the Trump version of what a garden should look like. Gone are the famous cherry blossoms and rows of beautiful flowers, replaced by what looks like an Eastern European mausoleum.
The cold and bland reworking seems to reflect what’s going on inside both the White House and the person who took away all of the colors. Twitter users couldn’t help but point out the contrast as both “Jackie Kennedy” and “Rose Garden” were trending on Saturday.
Can we talk about how Jackie Kennedy’s Rose Garden was colorful and diverse and beautiful and Melania just made it… white? pic.twitter.com/6jIendxup9
— Santiago Mayer (@santiagomayer_) August 22, 2020
Missing from this picture: Cherry trees planted by Jackie Kennedy. Also, you know, roses. https://t.co/EcJU4zIZSL
— Patrick S. Tomlinson (@stealthygeek) August 22, 2020
Here’s hoping Jill Biden enjoys gardening.