A petition pleading for the White House Rose Garden to be restored following former first lady Melania Trump‘s changes has reached nearly 80,000 signatures.
The Change.org petition, which is addressed to Dr. Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, implores both to return the Rose Garden to its original appearance.
Melania Trump’s redesign of the iconic garden proved to be a controversial point, with commentators criticizing the lack of color.
The removal of the crab apple trees was also seen as a sticking point, as trees of that type had been a constant in the garden since it was transformed by iconic former first lady Jackie Kennedy in 1962.
Trump’s redesign happened before she delivered her speech at the Republican National Convention on August 25, 2020, and made her comments in the garden itself.
Those behind the petition said Trump had “ripped away” the garden’s personality and “replaced it with a boring tribute to herself.”
The petition says in full: “In 1961 President and Mrs. Kennedy had just returned from a state visit to France, followed by stops in England and Austria.
“The President had noted that White House had no garden equal in quality or attractiveness to the gardens that he had seen in which he had been entertained in Europe.
“There he had recognized the importance of gardens surrounding an official residence and their appeal to the sensibilities of all people. To honor Jacqueline Kennedy’s contributions to the White House and its grounds, her immediate successor, First Lady Bird Johnson, renamed the East Garden as the ‘Jaqueline Kennedy Garden’ during a ceremony on 22 April 1965.”
It continued: “In 2019, Melania Trump had the cherry trees, a gift from Japan, removed as well as the rest of the foliage and replaced with a boring tribute to herself.
“Jackie’s legacy was ripped away from Americans who remembered all that the Kennedys meant to us. We want Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff to take this on and restore the Rose Garden to Jackie’s original design.”
The petition has gathered 79,730 out of 150,000 signatures as of Sunday morning.
According to Rachel Lambert Mellon, the horticulturalist and gardener who was commissioned to design the iconic garden, former president Kennedy wanted the space to be “useful and attractive.”
Newsweek previously reported Mellon wrote: “The President loved flowers and asked if a variety of other types could be mixed with roses. He had read the published garden notes of Thomas Jefferson and hoped for flowers used in Jefferson’s period.
“The trees we chose were Katherine crab apples. Crab apples belong to the rose family and would blend well with the roses, perennials, annuals, and herbs that would grow beneath and around them.”
Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.