The United States has been going through a crisis since the beginning of the pandemic, and the first lady’s announcement of renovating the White House Rose Garden got mixed reviews from the citizens.
On July 27, the White House announced in their press release that Melania Trump was planning to start a “much anticipated” project of improving “one of the most iconic locations on the White House grounds”—the rose garden designed by Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon during the Kennedy Administration. The project included a healthier area for planting, better facilities for audiovisual and broadcasting needs as well as more accessible features under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
While many appreciated the move, some weren’t so happy as the country currently needs more attention on the pandemic claiming many lives, unemployment, and the ongoing protests, reported Independent.
One user tweeted, “With Nearly 150,000 dead from coronavirus, 18 Million unemployed, and unemployment benefits ending, Melania will revamp the Rose Garden as her husband does nothing to alleviate the pain and suffering.”
The First Lady in the press release said, “The very act of planting a garden involves hard work and hope in the possibility of a bright future.” To which Former California congresswoman Katie Hill replied, “That’s some Marie Antoinette s*** right there.”
Following the comment, the last Queen of France—Marie Antoinette—started trending on twitter with over 19,500 likes with users comparing the renovation to the “let them eat cake” moment where the queen supposedly uttered the words when she was informed about the peasants starving.
The garden was kept away from the eyes of the cameras and people throughout the renovation until it was unveiled on August 22. Talking proudly about the new garden and thanking the people who worked hard on it, Mrs. Trump said, “Gardens are symbols of growth and hope. We celebrate this garden in the hope that future generations will not only enjoy – but also draw inspiration and strength – from this space where so much of our history has been shared,” as per the press release.
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Even in the most difficult times, the @WhiteHouse Rose Garden has stood as a symbol of strength & continuity. Today, it is my pleasure to announce our plans to renew & restore this iconic space so that we preserve its history & beauty for generations to come. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/first-lady-melania-trump-announces-plans-restore-enhance-white-house-rose-garden/
But just like the announcement of the renovation, the unveiling once again was successful in creating a divide of opinions among Americans. Twitter was trending with #RoseGardenMassacre with comments that made it quite clear that they were not happy with the uprooting of the crab apple trees related to the roses.
While one user wrote, “Melanoma RUINED the Rose Garden. It’s UGLY. An INSULT to other 1st ladies. IT’S DISGUSTING. Cut down Jackie O’s cherry trees. TOOK beautiful colors out of it & put in a CONCRETE SIDEWALK. It’s HORRIBLE, WASTE OF TAXPAYER’S MONEY. #RoseGardenMassacre.” Another described it to be “simply awful.” According to Express, one more user sarcastically wrote, “Thanks for uprooting all those gorgeous cherry trees!”
— 🗳🇺🇸🅹🆂🆃-🅱🆁🅴🇺🇸🗳 (@Sumrgrl07) August 23, 2020
Talk show host and daughter of 2008 presidential candidate John McCain, Meghan McCain also took a dig at Mrs. Trump’s new garden. She said, “I normally think Melania has impeccable taste — but removing Jackie O’s rose garden and all the beautiful flowers and colour for whatever reason I find really upsetting, not to mention not nearly as beautiful.”
Charles M. Blow, a New York Times Op-Ed columnist, took to Twitter to criticize the renovated garden with the #MarieAntoinette trend. He said, “If this isn’t a Marie Antionette moment I don’t know what is. Who cares about a redesigned rose garden when we’re in the middle of a pandemic, 175k+ people are dead and millions are out of work?”
Last redesigned back in 1962 by Mellon, the design was created to look as vibrant as the ones in Europe. According to White House History, the first lady Jackie Kennedy and the president “loved flowers and asked if a variety of other types could be mixed with the roses.” But the new garden is deployed of any color with one of the twitter users saying, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 22, 2020
The First Lady will be addressing the Republican National Convention from the rose garden on Tuesday even though the Democrats have criticized the venue of the event.
According to the federal rules, conducting political events at the White House is prohibited but it’s not new for political leaders for violating the rule in the past. Amongst all the hate that the new garden is receiving, there are some who loved it.
One user wrote tweeted, “Thank you for the beautiful garden, First Lady Melania, and for all the hard work you and your family are taking on for the benefit of all of us! God bless you all!” While another said, “It’s beautiful. Some people are just so full of hate that hateful remarks just spew out of them. A heart full of hate will never know true happiness.”