Melania Trump is back in the headlines again—and likely not for the reason she was hoping. On December 7, the first lady announced the completion of renovations to the White House tennis pavilion, and let’s just say it didn’t go over great on social media.
“History continues to unfold at the @WhiteHouse & I am pleased to announce the completion of the tennis pavilion. Preserving this historic landmark is vital & I want to thank all who helped complete this project,” she tweeted from the official @FLOTUS account.
“I am pleased to announce the completion of the tennis pavilion on the White House grounds. Thank you to all of the talented craftsmen who made this project possible and to the generous supporters of the White House,” Trump said in a press release about the project, which began in 2018. “It is my hope that this private space will function as both a place of leisure and gathering for future First Families.”
It’s not hard to see why this announcement could be perceived as tone-deaf as the coronavirus pandemic rages on across the country. Infection numbers are surging, many hospitals are at or near capacity, and millions of Americans remain unemployed.
The backlash on social media was swift. “Put hospital beds and respirators in there. Then it’ll be useful,” one person tweeted. “I’m sure all the citizens waiting in food lines and wondering if they will have a roof over their heads are thrilled to hear about the new White House tennis courts,” another added.
The first lady has had her share of social media controversies lately thanks to her holiday decorations and previously leaked comments she made about Christmas. But this also isn’t even the first time the tennis pavilion project has been criticized.
She gave an update back in early March that was also considered to be poorly timed, as the country was on the verge of the initial COVID-19 lockdown.