Politics - News Analysis
Presidential Historian Erupts After Seeing Recent Photo of ‘Melania’s’ Rose Garden
A few things should be said about the White House, Trump, Melania, and traditions before we even get into the horrors we see below.
Long ago, at the end of the Bill Clinton years, I was part of a very fortunate “screw-up.” I was a law clerk for a senior judge in the west. My brother was in college at the time and we both had free Delta tickets to go anywhere in the 48 states. It was his spring break. Neither of us had ever been to Miami, but neither of us had ever been to Washington DC, either. We chose Washington. (This is how one ends up geeky enough to be born a political writer.)
This was back in the day that people could obtain tickets to tour the White House and the Capitol/Senate, all that. It didn’t require anything special. I was busy one day in a surprise hearing and I asked the court clerk to speak to our Senator’s office and get the tickets arranged. She did. Somewhere between that sincere effort and my brother and me showing up at the White House, someone got the impression that the senior judge would be touring the White House, even though no senior judge existed with my name. Honest to dog, I had nothing to do with it.
We had normal tickets. We presented them, but we were taken out of the line. We worried. But alas, we were taken around the line to greet our senator’s wife, who would be our tour guide, just the three of us. (See? They had to believe the judge was coming.) Our senator’s wife did not act surprised upon seeing us (she’s that good) and later, my brother and I believed she might have been very relieved to see two fairly young, but very nice guys, to roam around with, rather than – perhaps – some stuffy judge.
We saw everything – except the West Wing because no one sees the West Wing unless you’re there to do something. We were not. But we saw everything else, right on down to the White House mess. Meanwhile, the three of us had each other falling down laughing the entire time. We weren’t laughing “at” anything we were seeing, we laughed at the circumstances and how much fun we were having. We finally asked her why she wasn’t the senator from our state and she said, “If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me… ” And we all laughed.
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All of that means nothing except for the fact that we saw everything, well beyond the normal tour, and everything, right down to the little wastebaskets, was perfect. Perfection. All one could think about was that we lived in an unbelievably rich country that had the money and commitment to make everything ridiculously, humorously, almost rudely, perfect. None more so than the Rose Garden. It was spring break, a late and warm one. Just imagine.
We stood outside in awe, taking it all in, total silence, no joking. One thought about the history, the tastefulness (Jackie was famous for her formal training in “tastefulness.”) Recall Clinton’s cat, “Socks?” Socks was kinda doing that hunting cat thing on the lawn, and I leaned over to the gigantic ex-NFL outside linebacker (Had to be) Secret Service agent and whispered, “How does anyone keep a damn cat in from where it wants to go?” He whispered back, “the first week you shock the shit out of the damn cat every time he gets a little beyond where you want him to go.” We both laughed, but neither of us smiled nor giggled, we laughed silently. The place deserved perfect respect.
It was just that… sacred is the only real word, secularly sacred.
But then in 2016, the Trumps came and they were perfectly awful people with perfectly awful taste, the opposite of Jackie Kennedy, or even Nancy Reagan. The Trumps are the Trumps and they “brand” everything in which they’re involved. Melania was infamously known to have her ice-cold hands wrapped around the… privates of everyone in that building, the one thing worse than pissing off Trump was pissing off Melania because you’d just get your torturous blowback doubled. Plus, as we have written many times, Melania is a spoiled brat.
If one had read any of the MAGAs’ posts while they were in the White House, they all talked about the fact that it was great to have a “classy” FLOTUS again, and that she was the new “Jackie Kennedy.” Because Melania only read the good reviews, she surely heard the meme and absolutely took it to heart. Thus, it was – we’re relatively certain – that Melania believed it to be her duty to put her Jackie Kennedy stamp on the Rose Garden. No, she didn’t pave that particular paradise and put up a parking lot, but it might’ve turned out better if she had. The parking lots are perfect.
Melania was not educated in formal “class” and aesthetics. She was no more Jackie Kennedy than she was Mohammed Ali, both American heroes. Melania was more like… well, we don’t want to insult anyone, so we’ll just say that Melania was more like Melania Trump.
Her renovation of the Rose Garden sucks. It famously sucks. It sucks at planetary levels. It not only embarrasses us as a nation, but we also embarrassed our solar system. In an area in which everything is so perfect that one talked in whispered tones, even when laughing, Melania managed to put up a big phat “Mel-T” as part of the perfect White House. No, it’s not etched in, it screams in whispers. This was full of roses and beautiful, blossoming trees on the late March day we visited:
Photograph I took of the White House Rose Garden early last month, which shows its evisceration by previous administration last year: pic.twitter.com/i3VJWRwiX8
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) April 16, 2021
Beschloss is one dry, cautious, calm, and reserved guy. He is not into hyperbole. For him to publish this picture is indicative of an acute rage, one that has been building within a man who’s spent 1000 days at the White House, not a one-time wonderful screw-up, and probably marveled at the perfection every single one of those days. A part of his heart must hurt. We know his eyes hurt. Because this is what it looked like the day we visited, the same fifteen years later:
Make the Rose Garden the Rose Garden Again. https://t.co/X8CZKB2ciS
— Rob Anderson for Louisiana (@RobAnderson2018) April 18, 2021
Someone change the fcking thing back.
Jill? Everyone wants you to do it. Everyone but the MAGAs and it would be a great way to show them who is really president. Dr. Jill Biden Ed.D, would you please simply whisper into the chief usher’s ear, “Unfck that thing, now, please?” and watch the staff work with a dedication one rarely sees. Make it “perfect” again. Do it, Jill, beings on eight to ten planets are waiting, holding their breath.
Lots of people agree:
It’s such an ” in your face” stark reminder of the emptiness and cruelty of the people who lived there for 4 long deadly years.
I don’t care how much the right is outraged . It must be torn up and restored to it’s original design by Bunny Mellon.
— Murrow’s Girl (@MadelineTriebw3) April 17, 2021
It really pisses me off that ignorant jealous hag just had to ruin Jackie’s garden, but I’m so glad she’s gone & can’t do any more harm.
— MLD Fully Vaccinated! (@mldxoxomad) April 16, 2021
I can’t tell you how angry this makes me. Occupants of the White House should not be able to make changes like this. Especially those occupants who have no taste.
— Diane Feeney (@DianeFeeney330) April 16, 2021
This makes me incredibly angry. How dare they destroy such a beautiful space. I will never forgive them. Taking out the healthy trees was just mean.
— Martha Lou (@MarthaDeyhle) April 17, 2021
[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiciak