Politics - News Analysis
Restorationists Urge Jill Biden to Erase Melania Trump’s Horrible Rose Garden Makeover
An online petition that seeks to reverse the changes former first lady Melania Trump made to the White House Rose has caught fire, surpassing 60,000 signatures as it hurtles towards 75,000. The petition via Change.org is addressed to First Lady Jill Biden and to second gentleman Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris.
When Trump redesigned the garden in 2019 it caused a stir because she removed much of its color, removing roses and crab apple trees. While the original trees had been replaced several times in the years since they were considered a beloved feature of the garden, planted by Jackie Kennedy when the garden was refurbished in 1962.
“In 1961 President and Mrs. Kennedy had just returned from a state visit to France, followed by stops in England and Austria,” the petition notes.
“The President had noted that the White House had no garden equal in quality or attractiveness to the gardens he had seen and in which he had been entertained in Europe. There he had recognized the importance of gardens surrounding an official residence and their appeal to the sensibilities of all people.”
“In 2019, Melania Trump had the cherry trees (er, crab apple trees — slight mistake there), a gift from Japan, removed as well as the rest of the foliage and replaced it with a boring tribute to herself,” the petition notes.
“Jackie’s legacy was ripped away from Americans who remember all that the Kennedys meant to us. We want Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff to take this on and restore the Rose Garden to Jackie’s original design.”
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Trump’s redesign of the garden took a full month and she delivered her speech to the Republican National Convention there on August 25, 2020. Colorful flowers were replaced with pastel and white roses and the crab apple trees were replaced by paved walkways. Reports indicated the trees would be relocated elsewhere on the White House grounds.
Trump’s redesign caused a firestorm on social media, with many users asserting the “before” images were lovelier than the “after” images.
President John F. Kennedy wanted the garden to be “useful and attractive” and wanted it to be filled with a variety of flowers, according to a first-person account written by Rachel Lambert Mellon, the horticulturalist and gardener hired to design the gardener.
“The President loved flowers and asked if a variety of other types could be mixed with the roses. He had read the published garden notes of Thomas Jefferson and hoped for flowers used in Jefferson’s period,” Mellon wrote.
Let’s hope Dr. Biden and Emhoff work to return the garden to its former beauty. Melania turned the Rose Garden into something that looks lifeless, devoid of color. Something that’s about as interesting as her personality.