Melania Trump Fires Back at Presidential Historian Who Criticized Her White House Rose Garden Renovations
Former First Lady Melania Trump is clapping back after receiving criticism on her redesign of the White House Rose Garden.
On Saturday, Michael Beschloss, presidential historian for NBC News, shared a tweet reflecting on the changes to the Rose Garden overseen by Melania, 51, a year ago, calling it an "evisceration" of the area. "Evisceration of White House Rose Garden was completed a year ago this month, and here was the grim result—decades of American history made to disappear," he wrote alongside a photo of the garden.
Shortly after, Melania's office responded to the criticism on Twitter, slamming Beschloss for highlighting a "misleading" photo of the garden prior to the roses blooming. She then shared her own photo of the iconic garden with its flowers in full bloom.
".@BeschlossDC has proven his ignorance by showing a picture of the Rose Garden in its infancy. The Rose Garden is graced with a healthy & colorful blossoming of roses. His misleading information is dishonorable & he should never be trusted as a professional historian," her office wrote on Sunday via Twitter.
It was a rare statement from Melania, who has rarely been seen in public since leaving Washington, D.C. in January, and has made only a few media comments, such as when she recently disputed reports about comments she allegedly made during her husband's campaign.
The historic Rose Garden has long been used as a backdrop for important speeches and White House ceremonies. Trump first announced the renovation would take place in late July 2020 and many social media users took viral jabs at her calling it a tone-deaf move amid the novel coronavirus pandemic — and the resulting economic damage — as well as national unrest over racial injustice.
The result of the three-week renovation was later unveiled in August 2020. Many shared their disapproval of the new landscaping on social media, specifically the decision to remove about a dozen crabapple trees planted in the garden by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy — even as the White House said the changes were to return the garden more to its original 1962 design under Kennedy.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
In April, a petition was created calling for First Lady Jill Biden to reverse the changes made to the Rose Garden that "ripped away" the legacy of Kennedy's design. "We want Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff to take this on and restore the Rose Garden to Jackie's original design" read the petition, which has since received over 82,000 signatures.
The former first lady also faced backlash in March 2020 when she shared photos of construction workers building a private tennis complex on the White House grounds, as the COVID-19 pandemic was first beginning to impact the U.S.