Since entering the White House, Melania Trump has preferred to be discreet. Despite rumors started by a few journalists or columnists on gossip sites, she maintains a low profile. From the start, she preferred the couple’s New York residence to allow her son to finish his school year. Unlike her husband, she shuns controversy and only embraces consensual causes.
On Monday, the first lady was using social networks to launch a project. Alone at the helm, she announced that she would oversee a redevelopment and renovation of this iconic storefront. The work will not shock anyone, but some details of the announcement, as well as the timing to present the project, have not escaped observers.
If it was Woodrow Wilson’s wife who first developed this rose garden project in 1913, we especially remember the initiatives of Jackie Kennedy. Determined to embellish the White House as a whole to bring culture and historical charm to it. The rose garden as we know it is the result of the collaboration between Kennedy and Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon.
According to the information disclosed by the first lady, beyond the upgrade of the electrical system and the irrigation and drainage facilities, Melania Trump wants to restore the rose garden to the initial cachet imagined by JFK’s wife.
This is not the first time that Melania Trump has teamed up with Jackie Kennedy (the choice of her outfits for example) and the Democratic administration of JFK. The message she sends is one of openness and respect for traditions. The Kennedy couple has become legendary and despite all the revelations surrounding the infidelities of the first Catholic president, the image that continues is positive.
File photo, AFP
John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1950s
Another detail which is not trivial; this work is announced when there are less than 100 days left before the election. We can detect at least two strategic aspects. First of all, Melania Trump intends to supervise the entire work. She therefore shows great confidence in her husband’s possibilities of obtaining a second term.
Secondly, this type of announcement creates a great diversion when the president is faced with particularly negative media coverage. Even conservative networks qualify or contradict his remarks. If the announcement of the renovations of the rose garden will not hold attention for long, it constitutes a small salutary break by associating the president with the tradition.
For more than three years, Donald Trump has not shown any real enthusiasm for conventions and traditions. He likes to project the image of a strong man, of a man who will not hesitate to shake up all the rituals to permanently change the ways of doing things in Washington.
Monday, through the first lady, we resorted to a strategy that could not be more conventional. It is therefore under Donald Trump that one of the most visible symbols of the American presidency is being maintained.