Melania Trump was often roasted for her decorating decisions while serving as first lady, but there’s one particular change she made to the White House that people want Jill Biden to reverse immediately.
In the summer of 2020, the Trump unveiled a redesigned version of the White House Rose Garden that felt conspicuously void of, well, garden.
Although the Rose Garden was created by first lady Ellen Wilson during President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure in 1913, first lady Jackie Kennedy famously remodeled the landscape into a lush garden with bright flowers in 1962. However, Melania Trump felt the garden needed a change to “fulfill the dynamic needs of the modern presidency,” according to CNN.
USA Today noted at the time that Trump chose to update the garden with “audiovisual equipment, cameras, paving, drainage, and lighting” but “removed 10 crab apple trees that lined the colonnade” in the process. She also “swapped out the vibrant roses and flowers for roses of white, cream, pale yellow, and pale pink.” According to the A.P., the White House had plans to replant the trees in another location.
While a Change.org petition asking Jill Biden to reverse Melania Trump’s “update” was first posted in March, Refinery 29 reports that it recently picked up more steam. As of April 29, there are more than 45,000 signatures calling on Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, to “restore the Rose Garden to Jackie’s original design.”
“Melania Trump had the cherry trees, a gift from Japan, removed as well as the rest of the foliage and replaced with a boring tribute to herself,” the petition created by user Liz Tapanes reads. “Jackie’s legacy was ripped away from Americans who remembered all that the Kennedys meant to us.”
While Trump didn’t respond to the backlash surrounding her garden overhaul, she did put out a statement to her critics while working on renovations to the White House Tennis Pavilion. “I encourage everyone who chooses to be negative & question my work at the @WhiteHouse to take time and contribute something good & productive in their own communities,” Trump tweeted in March 2020. “#BeBest.”
In December 2020, Trump unveiled the tennis courts in the middle of a global pandemic.