Melania Trump Reminds Us She’s Still First Lady With Rose Garden Reno Project

White House

Remember Melania Trump, the first lady whose opinion on Goya products remains elusive? She took a little break after filming that mask PSA in April, and now she's rested and ready for another project. Trump will announce today that she plans to renovate the White House Rose Garden. Let's hope she can get it done by the end of the year.

According to remarks prepared for Melania Trump after feeding random Hallmark cards into the Platitude 9000, the revamped Rose Garden is an "act of expressing hope and optimism for the future." Normally, when there's not an unchecked pandemic ravaging the nation, some flowers and shrubs could make us excited about fall, but right now, we'd all prefer a national testing and tracing program.

The first lady will utter the following words sometime today:

Our country has seen difficult times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always stood as a symbol of our strength, resilience and continuity.

New York Times writer Katie Rogers notes that Melania's husband, Donald Trump, has frequently used the Rose Garden for impromptu two-minute hate sessions against Democrats and journalists. Earlier this month, the president launched into a baseless, angry attack on Joe Biden there. You'd think all the nice hedges would chill him the fuck out.


Melania Trump's Rose Garden renovation will include electrical upgrades for television appearances, which is conveniently timed for Donald Trump's doomed re-election campaign. The president has been indefinitely denied his beloved rallies in front of large crowds of adoring idiots. That's probably the only upside of the coronavirus.

Lately, largely confined to the White House and struggling to respond to the dire economic and public health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Trump has taken to delivering meandering news conferences in 90-degree heat. Aides say he believes the natural lighting favors his complexion.

LOL. Nothing “favors" the president's complexion, which is not a color that exists in nature.

Sure, normal presidents in normal times take advantage of the lovely Rose Garden setting to look presidential, especially when running for re-election. They have ceremonial signings, executive announcements, and press appearances. That's the power of the incumbency, which Donald Trump can't leverage because he's in constant attack dog mode. He also has no class. His personal grossness can't help but make any place look and feel like a Port Authority bathroom.

Lori Cox Han, who teaches political science at Chapman University in California, said the Rose Garden is “such a traditional venue when a president wants to get national attention for something he's doing or something he's saying." That's not the best campaign tactic for this incumbent, considering the rising COVID-19 death toll. Reminding us that he's president, even in the Rose Garden, won't improve Donald Trump's poll numbers.

HAN: There's not a lot that's been traditional about this presidency or about how we view the president or the first lady, but for Melania, this is one of those opportunities to be seen as a traditional first lady.

That's a fancy way of saying that both Donald and Melania Trump suck at whatever it is they're supposed to be doing. Donald Trump has called himself a “wartime president," and that would make Melanie a wartime first lady. Mary Todd Lincoln visited the Civil War wounded. Eleanor Roosevelt toured the South Pacific war zone because she was a badass. Just weeks before COVID-19 shut down the country, Melania Trump was wearing a designer hard hat and overseeing construction of a tennis pavilion. Now, she's helping update the Rose Garden's electrical infrastructure so it's easier to capture her husband's horrid image on television.

Mrs. Trump, who studied architecture (though she did not receive her degree) and worked as a model, has spent some of her time in the White House focusing on aesthetic upgrades. Her child-focused initiative, Be Best, has been targeted by critics who say its anti-bullying efforts are undermined by her husband's behavior, though in recent weeks she has distributed food boxes and Be Best-themed items to charities around Washington.

Damn. That is some fierce shade. Katie Rogers is my new best friend.

Donald Trump has called Melania “our own Jackie O." The current, part-time first lady would like to emulate Jackie Kennedy but she lacks her natural grace and authentic demonstrations of human emotion. Katherine Jellison, a professor at Ohio University who studies first ladies, suggested that Melania Trump knows her time in the White House is limited and this project is an appropriate attempt “to make her mark in the way Jackie Kennedy did in her brief time."

Yeah, good luck with that.

[The New York Times]

Stephen Robinson on Twitter.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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