Melania Trump denounced violence and called on Americans to ‘be best’ to one another in a farewell video posted to her social media accounts on Monday, two days before she vacates the White House.
‘Do not lose sight of your integrity and values. Use every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into your daily lives. In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best. To focus on what unites us, to raise above what divides us, to always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself,’ she said in the nearly seven minute video.
‘Be passionate in everything you do. But always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified,’ she said nearly two weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol and interrupted the certification of election results. The first lady’s original response was criticized for calling out those who gossiped about her.
But her message also comes as Melania has left a final snub on incoming first lady Jill Biden – not giving her successor a tour of the family wing of the White House.
A spokesperson for Biden confirmed the lack of outreach to DailyMail.com, another sign of tension between the outgoing and incoming administrations.
But, with less than 48 hours left in the executive mansion, Melania Trump made her first appearance since December 31. Since that time she has been holed up in the White House, packing, working on a photo shoot for a coffee table book and scrap booking.
She opted to give her ‘farewell message’ in the same style of her husband, a video posted online. Hers is entitled ‘A Farewell Message from First Lady Melania Trump’ and appears to have been recorded in the cross hallway outside the state rooms on the first floor of the White House.
Melania Trump denounced violence and called on Americans to ‘be best’ to one another in a farewell video posted to her social media accounts
Melania Trump touted her Be Best campaign in her farewell address, she launched her initiative in May 2018
Melania Trump has not reached out to her successor Jill Biden to offer the tradition tour of the family quarters in the White House; Joe and Jill Biden move into the White House on Wednesday
In it, she called out a cornucopia of items, veering from the military, the work of healthcare and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against the opioid epidemic, and her Be Best initiative.
‘My fellow Americans, it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as First Lady of the United States,’ she began.
And then she acknowledged that she and President Donald Trump have a short time left as the first family. President-elect Joe Biden takes the office on Wednesday at noon.
‘The past four years have been unforgettable. As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all of the people that I have taken for me in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination,’ she said.
She ended by expressing gratitude for her four years in the White House.
‘Together as one national family, we can continue to be the light of hope for future generations and carry on America’s legacy of rising our nation to greater heights through our spirit of courage, goodness, and fate. No words can express the depth of my gratitude for the privilege of having served as your first lady. To all the people of this country, you will be my heart forever. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America,’ she said.
But she leaves her post as the nation goes through one of the most contentious transfers of power in modern history. President Trump falsely claimed the election was stolen and Melania stoked those fears, saying ‘every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted’ even as officials in the administration said the contest was valid.
She has not made a peace offering to the Bidens, including to invite Jill Biden to tea and tour the residence – a tradition that goes back to the 1950s when Bess Truman hosted her replacement Mamie Eisenhower.
‘Melania Trump will become the first modern first lady not to invite the woman who will replace her to the White House for a walk-through of the private living quarters on the second and third floors,’ author Kate Andersen Brower noted in an op-ed for CNN.com.
And it’s a tradition that continued even under tense political circumstances.
Michelle Obama gave Melania the tour shortly after Donald Trump won the presidency. Laura Bush had Michelle Obama over twice – once solo and once with her daughters so the girls could pick out their bedrooms in the residence.
But the tour – and accompanying tea – usually happen when the outgoing president invites the incoming president to a meeting in the Oval Office. President Trump has not extended that invitation to President-elect Joe Biden.
Melania Trump and Jill Biden are believed to have last seen each other at the final presidential debate in October 2020 although they didn’t interact at that event.
Jill and Joe Biden certainly aren’t new to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Biden served as vice president for eight years and the couple were close to the Obamas. Some of Biden grandchildren went to school with the Obama girls, cementing the ties between the two families.
Melania’s Farewell Address
Melania Trump posted a video message entitled ‘A Farewell Message from First Lady Melania Trump’ on her social media channels:
My fellow Americans, it has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as First Lady of the United States. I have been inspired by incredible Americans across our country, who lift up our communities through their kindness and courage, goodness, and grace.
The past four years have been unforgettable. As Donald and I conclude our time in the White House, I think of all of the people that have I taken for me in my heart and their incredible stories of love, patriotism and determination. I see the faces of brave young soldiers, who have told me with their pride in their eyes, how much they love serving this country. To every service member and to our incredible military families, you are heroes, and you will always be my thoughts and prayers.
I think of all of the members of law enforcement, who greet us everywhere we go. At every hour of every day, they stand guard to keep our community safe. And we are forever in their dept. I have been moved by children I have visited in hospitals and foster care centers. Even as they fight difficult illnesses or face challenges; they bring such a joy to everyone they meet. I remember the mothers who have battled the disease of opioid addiction and have overcome incredible hardships for love of their children. I have been inspired by the devoted caregivers, for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and communities that give these children the support and care they need to grow.
When I think about these meaningful experiences, I’m humbled to have had the opportunity to represent a nation with such kind and generous people. As the world continues to confront the covid 19 pandemic, I thank all of the nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals, manufacturing workers, truck drivers, and so many others who are working to save lives. We grieve for the families who have lost a loved one due to the pandemic. Every life is precious. And I ask all Americans to use caution and common sense to protect the vulnerable as millions of vaccines are now being delivered.
In the midst of hardship, we have seen the best of America shine through. Students have made cards and delivered groceries to our senior citizens. Teachers have worked twice as hard to keep our children learning. Families have come together to provide meals, supplies, comfort and friendship to those in need. Be passionate in everything you do. But always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified.
When I came to the White House, I reflected on the responsibility I have always felt as a mother to encourage, give strength and teach values of kindness. It is our duty as adults and parents to ensure the children have the best opportunities to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. The passion for helping children succeed has driven my policy initiatives as First Lady.
I launched Be Best to ensure that we as Americans are doing all we can to take care of the next generation. Be Best has concentrated on three pillars: well being, online safety and opioid abuse. In a few short years, I have raised awareness of how to keep children safe online. We have made incredible progress on our nation’s drug epidemic, and how it impacts the lives of newborns and families. And we have given a voice to our most vulnerable children in the foster care system. Internationally, Be Best has evolved into a platform that encourages world leaders to discuss issues impacting the lives of children and allows them to share solutions.
It has been an honor to represent the American people abroad. I treasure, each of my experiences, and the inspiring people I have met along the way.
As I say farewell to my role as First Lady, it is my sincere hope that every American will do their part to teach our children what it means to be best. I encourage parents to educate your children about the courageous and selfless heroes who worked and sacrifice to make this country the land of the free and to lead by example and care for others in your community.
The promise of this nation belongs to all of us. Do not lose sight of your integrity and values. Use every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into your daily lives. In all circumstances, I ask every American to be an ambassador of Be Best. To focus on what unites us, to raise above what divides us, to always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself.
Together as one national family, we can continue to be the light of hope for future generations and carry on America’s legacy of rising our nation to greater heights through our spirit of courage, goodness, and fate. No words can express the depth of my gratitude for the privilege of having served as your first lady. To all the people of this country, you will be my heart forever. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Melania Trump was last seen in public on December 31, above, when she and President Trump returned from Mar-a-Lago where they spent the holidays
Jill Biden takes part in a National Day of Service on Monday as part of the lead-up to Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday
Melania Trump blows bubbles with 18-month-old patient Elliegh Rasmussen (left) following a roundtable discussion on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) during a visit to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville in July 2018 as part of her Be Best campaign
President Trump and Melania Trump visit with children during a tour of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, in August 24
The Trumps also aren’t attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony, when he becomes the nation’s 46th president at noon on Wednesday. The last president not to attend his successor’s swearing in was Andrew Johnson about 150 years ago.
The Trumps are scheduled to depart Washington D.C. early Wednesday morning attending a goodbye ceremony at Joint Base Andrews scheduled for 8 a.m. The Bidens will be close by – they are spending Tuesday night at Blair House, the official guest house across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
That means the Trumps won’t host the Bidens for coffee – another tradition being skipped. The outgoing first couple typically hosts the incoming first couple at the White House before they all ride to the Capitol together for the inauguration ceremony.
Additionally, on the morning of inauguration day, instead of being met at the White House by the outgoing family – as per tradition – the Bidens will be greeted by the White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, a source familiar with the day’s events and planning told CNN. Harleth worked at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. before Melania hired him at the White House.
The schedule for inauguration day also means Melania Trump will be visibly absent when Jill Biden, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton join their husbands at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
The images from that event will be stark but incomplete – a line of presidents and first ladies without the most recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It’s unclear if the Trumps will join the former presidents and first ladies at the ritual events that usually command their presence – state funerals, presidential library openings, inauguration ceremonies, and others.
And while Melania Trump has not reached out to Jill Biden, staff in the East Wing are preparing transition binders, a source with knowledge of the situation told DailyMail.com last week, as part of a greater White House transition effort for the incoming Biden administration.
The Obamas did extend a warm welcome to the Trumps after he was elected despite the contentious election and Trump’s disparaging comments about Obama, including questioning whether he was born in the United States.
Barack and Michelle Obama hosted Donald and Melania Trump on November 10, 2016 – just two days after Trump won the White House.
While the men chatted in the West Wing, the two women had tea in the residence. Additionally, Michelle gave Melania a tour of the first family’s living quarters and took her to see the Truman Balcony.
Then-White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the ladies discussed ‘raising kids at the White House, and you know, obviously the first lady’s two daughters spent their formative years of their childhood at the White House and Mrs. Trump’s son will also spend some important years of his childhood here at the White House.’
Malia Obama was 10 and Sasha Obama was 7 when their father won the White House. Barron Trump was 10 when his father was elected.
‘That’s a rather unique childhood, and the two women had an opportunity to talk about that experience and being a good parent through that experience,’ Earnest pointed out at the time.
Michelle Obama meets with Melania Trump in the White House residence shortly after the November 2008 election to give her a tour
Laura Bush meets with incoming first lady Michelle Obama in the White House residence in November 2008 to give her a tour of where the first family lives
Jenna and Barbara Bush gave Sasha and Malia Obama (pictured above with Laura Bush) a tour of the family residence before Barack Obama was sworn in so the Obama girls could see their new home
Melania Trump and Jill Biden are not known to have interacted when their husbands held their presidential debates; the two are seen at the October 22, 2020 debate in Nashville
Michelle Obama has talked about her gratitude to Laura Bush, who made her and her daughters feel welcome.
‘I just want to take a moment to commend Mrs. Bush, because she and her staff helped my team with that transition,’ Michelle Obama said at a first ladies summit in Africa in July 2013.
‘Having your predecessors be people who are willing to extend themselves on behalf of the country, to help with that transition makes the world of difference. But nothing prepares you. Nothing prepares you for this role. I mean, it is so startling that the transition of power in the United States happens so quickly that you don’t have access to the house until the President takes the oath of office.’
‘I remember walking into that house and I didn’t even know where the bathrooms were,’ she added.
It’s unclear what’s next for Melania Trump, who is leaving the White House with a lower approval rating than that of the three first ladies who proceeded her.
Melania Trump is leaving the White House with a lower approval rating that the three first ladies who proceeded her
She will depart on Wednesday with 47 per cent approval of her tenure, 12 points less than Michelle Obama who left a 69 per cent approval rating of her job as first lady, according to a CNN/ORC poll.
Laura Bush exited the White House with a 67 per cent approval rating and Hillary Clinton was at 56 per cent upon her departure as first lady.
Melania Trump’s approval rating, however, is much higher than her husband’s – by double digits. Only 33 per cent approve of the job President Donald Trump has done.
First ladies traditionally have higher poll numbers than their husbands given their roles is much less political.
But Melania Trump, 50, has taken a low-key approach to the job compared to her predecessors. She has spent her final days in the White House out of sight, packing up the family belongings and preparing for the next chapter in their lives.
Unlike the president, Melania’s @FLOTUS twitter account remains active. On Monday morning she posted a message marking Martin Luther King Day and last week she posted a video celebrating her Be Best initiative, a kindness project that never caught fire like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move or Laura Bush’s National Book Festival.
Also on Monday, she also posted a final message, defending the renovation work she oversaw during her four years in the White House.
Under her careful eye, the White House Bowling Alley, Tennis Pavilion and Rose Garden under went redesigns.
Most of Melania’s work was subject to criticism, however, particularly when she posted on social media about the pavilion, which was being redone while the country battled the COVID epidemic and the economy was tanking. Online critics compared the first lady to Maria Antoinette.
But Melania defended that work, claiming ‘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,’ she added, referring to the pavilion and the installation of ‘Floor Frame’ sculpture by Isamu Noguchi in the newly restored Rose Garden.
In the 850-word essay posted to the White House website, the first lady wrote she undertook the work to preserve the house’s heritage.
‘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,’ she noted in the piece entitled ‘Honoring American Craftsmanship in the People’s House.’
She hinted she left work to be finished by Jill Biden.
‘The restoration and conservation of the priceless Zuber wallpaper in the Family Dining Room, perhaps the most ambitious project of the Administration, remains to be completed, and will be, I hope, admired by all who see its beauty,’ Melania noted.
She thanked the staff and craftsmen who worked on the projects with her.
‘As this chapter comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge the many people and departments without whom my role as First Lady would not have been possible. Both the White House Office of the Curator and the White House Historical Association have worked tirelessly to ensure these projects met their standards of preservation, conservation, and scholarly excellence. I am grateful for those who in a private capacity have so generously donated to my initiatives and to the collection as a whole,’ she noted.
Melania Trump posted a final message defending the renovation work she oversaw in the White House, including controversial projects like the Tennis Pavilion
Ivanka Trump posted a photo of her three children leaving their hand prints in the White House Children’s Garden – a tradition of presidential grand children
The Tennis Pavilion was being redone while the country battled the COVID epidemic and the economy was tanking. Online critics compared the first lady to Maria Antoinette
Melania was criticized for her work in the White House Rose Garden, where she returned the layout closer to the original design in the time of John F. Kennedy
Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, seen together at the African First Ladies Summit in Tanzania, on July 2, 2013, left the White House with higher approval ratings than Melania
But in her four years in the national spotlight, Melania Trump made more news for what she has worn – the infamous ‘I really don’t care’ jacket on a Texas trip and her pith helmet on her Africa trip – that for what she’s done.
Her rare public comments – like her statement after the January 6th MAGA riot at the Capitol – resulted in her being called selfish for focusing on gossip about herself.
Melania Trump Renovation Projects
First full renovation of the Queen’s Bathroom since the 1950s
Updated and restored ‘The President’s Elevator’
Restoration of the East Room floor
The White House Bowling Alley
White House Rose Garden
Installation of ‘Floor Frame’ sculpture by Isamu Noguchi in Rose Garden
Refurbishment of the Children’s Garden
Construction of the new White House Tennis Pavilion
Melania Trump hasn’t been seen in public since December 31, when the Trumps returned from their Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida where they had spent the holidays.
She is scheduled to leave the White House with the president Wednesday morning, where there will be a departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before the couple flies to Florida, where they intend to live. Melania has reportedly been looking at schools in the area for their son Barron, 14.
Melania Trump has made no indication she plans to keep up her ‘Be Best’ campaign or her work with the military once her husband leaves office. She has not given an exit interview.
Some of her last words as first lady sparked a bit of controversy.
Last Monday, she broke her silence on the January 6th mob attack on the Capitol. But critics accused her of playing the victim in her message.
Five days after the attacked that resulted in five deaths, the first lady published a statement that acknowledged the deaths of her husband’s supporters before the deaths of two Capitol Police officers – and lashed out extensively at ‘gossip’ about her.
‘My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time,’ she wrote.
But in her 600-word essay published by the White House, she quickly turned the situation to herself, slamming the ‘salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me’ – a reference to reports she was conducting a photo shoot in the White House during the MAGA mob scene.
‘I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain,’ she wrote in the message entitled Our Path Forward.
The essay is filled with spelling errors – Babbit’s name was spelled wrong – it was Babbitt – and grammatical mistakes that were later corrected in the version online.
While Melania has largely stayed quiet during Donald Trump’s attempts to illegally reverse the election results, she has echoed the president’s misleading language of ‘counting legal votes’ and has not publicly acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory.
But she wrote in her latest message that ‘it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your first lady’, a tacit acknowledgement that her term is nearly over.
It’s unclear what Melania Trump will do after life in the White House; she has reportedly been looking at schools in Florida for Barron – the Trump family seen together in August 2020
Melania Trump made more news for what she has worn – such as the infamous ‘I really don’t care’ jacket on a Texas trip in June 2018 – that for what she’s done
Melania Trump caused controversy during her October 2018 Africa trip when she wore a pith helmet – a symbol of colonial rule across Africa
Melania Trump’s Be Best campaign never caught fire like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move or Laura Bush’s National Book Festival
As a White House source told The Mail on Sunday that during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol, the first lady was in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a photo shoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts.
‘The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines for the photographer,’ the source said, saying even the most loyal remaining Trump staffers were left ‘dumbfounded’ by her actions.
Aides even asked Melania to intercede on the day of the riot, to force her husband to publicly decry the insurgency, but she refused.
‘She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago.’
Additionally, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked in the East Wing in the early days of the administration and then wrote a memoir of her time there that painted Melania in an unflattering light, wrote in The Daily Beast that she is ‘ashamed’ to have ever worked for the first lady.
‘I can’t believe how blind I was to the depth of her deception and lack of common decency,’ Wolkoff wrote.
Without mentioning those claims directly in her statement, Melania condemned what she said were ‘false misleading accusations on me’ from ‘people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda’.
The first lady said she was praying for the families of the four protesters and two Capitol Police officers who died in the hours and days after the attack.
She added that ‘our nation must heal in a civil manner’, after President Trump initially praised the mob as ‘very special’ but later condemned the violence.
‘Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable,’ she wrote.
She went on: ‘As an American, I am proud of our freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution. It is one of the paramount ideals which America is fundamentally built on.
‘Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect that right. With that in mind, I would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.
‘I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness. We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.
‘It is inspiring to see that so many have found a passion and enthusiasm in participating in an election, but we must not allow that passion to turn to violence.
‘Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are.’
Michelle Obama, Melania Trump, President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama on January 20th, 2017 – the day Trump was inaugurated
It’s unclear if the Trumps will join other presidents and first ladies at occasions such as state funerals – above President Trump, Melania Trump, President Obama, Michelle Obama, President Clinton and Hillary Clinton at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral in December 2018
Laura Bush, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, President Barack Obama, President George H. W. Bush, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump pose for a group photo at the funeral ceremony for the late first lady Barbara Bush in April 2018
Praising Americans for their ‘strength and character’ during the pandemic, Melania also voiced thanks to the ‘millions of Americans who supported my husband and me over the past four years’.
In November, she had drawn ire by writing on Twitter that ‘every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted’, implying that the result hinged on illegal votes as President Trump was falsely claiming.
But she concluded Monday’s message by saying: ‘Most importantly, I ask for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation.’
‘Every day let us remember that we are one Nation under God. God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.’
Melania’s Final Message
Melania Trump posted a final message as first lady: Honoring American Craftsmanship in the People’s House
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.
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.
Through a team of dedicated advisors whose passion rose above mere cosmetic alterations, my attention was brought to areas of the house which were in great need of structural restoration and preservation. In 2018, we completed the first full renovation of the Queen’s Bathroom since the 1950s. Our goal of updating and restoring “The President’s Elevator,” which is used by the First Family, visiting dignitaries, and White House staff, was accomplished in the same year. In 2019 we embarked on a several months-long restoration of the East Room floor, which brought to life the true magnificence of this historic space. This was done in tandem with work performed on the marble floors of the State Entrance and Hallway. These are the first areas to greet all visitors to the White House, and the impact of the painstaking work of re-grouting, restoring and then re-polishing them has been profound.
The Bowling Alley also underwent a full renovation in 2019, and I hope it will be a space that is enjoyed by all who use it. The restoration and conservation of the priceless Zuber wallpaper in the Family Dining Room, perhaps the most ambitious project of the Administration, remains to be completed, and will be, I hope, admired by all who see its beauty. The advice and input of the White House curatorial team was critical to the success of such endeavors, and it was with great pride that I was able to work with them directly to renovate their offices and ensure they had the necessary archival and curatorial infrastructure to enable the continuation of their invaluable work on the collection.
Throughout, our goal has been to balance the needs of the present with the continuity of overall architectural tradition of the White House. This aim could not have been realized without the group of American craftsman whose knowledge and enthusiasm ensured the work was completed through the application of traditional methodsthat keep with the long history of the building itself.
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. The Rose Garden celebrates the history of many previous First Ladies, and it was my privilege to introduce into its design the first work completed by an Asian-American artist to enter the White House collection. The simplicity and beauty of Nogochi’s sculpture provides an enduring message of strength, which felt particularly relevant at the moment of its unveiling.
Shortly thereafter, in December 2020, I had the great privilege to announce the completion of the the refurbishment of the Children’s Garden and the construction of the new White House Tennis Pavilion.This project planing began in 2018 and was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission in June 2019. The Tennis Pavilion was constructed in partnership with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service, and funded entirely through private donation. The team of American designers, builders and artisans, who relied on locally sourced materials, created for the Nation a monumental addition to this historic home that I know will be part of its enduring legacy. Their achievement was made all the more notable as it was accomplished despite the many challenges they faced because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As this chapter comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge the many people and departments without whom my role as First Lady would not have been possible. Both the White House Office of the Curator and the White House Historical Association have worked tirelessly to ensure these projects met their standards of preservation, conservation, and scholarly excellence. I am grateful for those who in a private capacity have so generously donated to my initiatives and to the collection as a whole.