From renovating bathrooms to Rose Garden installations: Melania Trump applies the gloss to White House 'legacy'
The FLOTUS put out one of her very last statements on the White House website, where she listed her achievements in terms of preserving and redesigning several iconic sections of the residence
While almost all the first ladies in modern history have left their touches in and around the White House during their respective tenures, their efforts to redesign or renovate the iconic residence has formed only part of their grander legacy – the core of which was formed by the causes they championed, while their husbands were presidents. However, the entirety of Melania Trump's legacy at the White House could just end up being the renovations she oversaw.
As she makes her way out of the White House, Melania put out one of her very last statements on the White House website where she listed her achievements in terms of preserving and redesigning several iconic sections of the residence. This included the first full renovation of the Queen’s Bathroom in the residence since the 1950s, restoration of the President’s Elevator, the floors of the East Room as well as the marble floors of the State Entrance and Hallway, and a full renovation of the White House’s bowling alley. She also created quite a buzz when she added a sculpture to the Rose Garden that was crafted by Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi — marking the first piece of art by an Asian American in the White House collection.
"Over the last four years, my family has had the immense honor of being able to call the “People’s House” our home. We were welcomed and supported in this personal journey by a team whose dedication to the house in which they serve transcends administrations and serves as the living legacy of a building that remains the symbolic epicenter of our national life," she wrote in the statement.
She added: "As First Lady, and as the temporary custodian of this national treasure, I was inspired by the example of my predecessors. Their reverence for the White House, and their love of history ensured the long-term preservation of the building in which they both served and lived. In similar fashion, the projects that I have overseen during the last four years are ones which I believe will not only preserve the house’s heritage but enhance the experience of its beauty and solemnity for generations to come."
The FLOTUS then briefly referenced the coronavirus outbreak of last year before delving back to her revamping efforts. "Over the course of 2020, our country has suffered the devastating and unexpected loss of life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic impact of the pandemic, which has been felt by so many in this country, has profoundly shaped our shared experience of American life. As a result, it was with a great sensitivity to the wider national backdrop that I unveiled two long-planned projects on the White House grounds. In November 2020, we publicly marked the installation of “Floor Frame” by Isamu Noguchi in the newly restored Rose Garden... Shortly thereafter, in December 2020, I had the great privilege to announce the completion of the refurbishment of the Children’s Garden and the construction of the new White House Tennis Pavilion," she stated.
The only other prominent cause taken up by Melania during her tenure was the 'BeBest' campaign which discouraged children from opioid use and attempted to make parents aware of online bullying. With her husband going on Twitter rants against everyone who dared oppose him, Melania's 'BeBest' was always kind of the crux of mockery. And as she bid farewell to her beloved campaign ahead of her exit from the White House, she was relentlessly ridiculed.
On January 15, with just five days left as the first lady, Melania tweeted: "As the legacy of #BeBest comes to a close at the @WhiteHouse, we must continue to give a voice to our Nation's children & the issues that impact their lives. It's the values & spirit of the American people that inspired Be Best & it's those values that will carry on its mission." Her post also had a video of herself at different #BeBest events, meeting with children.
As the legacy of #BeBest comes to a close at the @WhiteHouse, we must continue to give a voice to our Nation's children & the issues that impact their lives. It's the values & spirit of the American people that inspired Be Best & it's those values that will carry on its mission. pic.twitter.com/fRBTWphmlj— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 15, 2021
Her tweet generated a backlash that used #BeBest sarcastically. Most of the anger seemingly is because Melania ignored one of the crucial duties of a departing FLOTUS — inviting the new First Lady, in this case, Jill Biden — into the White House.