First lady Melania Trump seems to have found an issue on which the Trump and Obama administrations can agree: They both cherish the White House gardens.
While touring a Japanese garden Saturday in Florida, the new first lady declared herself a “caretaker and nurturer,” and promised to preserve one of her predecessor’s signature projects, the White House Kitchen Garden.
“As a mother and as the first lady of this country, Mrs. Trump is committed to the preservation and continuation of the White House Gardens, specifically the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden and the Rose Garden,” according to a statement to CNN.
The statement was issued by Mrs. Trump’s unofficial spokeswoman (she’s still in the process of hiring an official press secretary), Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
It also was quoted in the pool report of her visit to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, which she toured with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They were hosted by President Trump and the first lady at their Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach over the weekend.
According to the pool report, Trump, a former fashion model, was dressed in a tight, white, ankle-length dress, paired with nude flats and a white sweater draped over her shoulders. She wore huge sunglasses in the Florida sun.
First lady Melania Trump smiles during a tour of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Fla., Feb. 11, 2017. (Photo: Terry Renna, AP)
Trump has taken a low profile since her husband’s inauguration because she’s still living in Trump Tower in New York so the youngest Trump child, 10-year-old Barron, can finish the school year. The Mar-a-Lago weekend with the Abes was her first opportunity to play a traditional FLOTUS role, hosting foreign visitors.
Even so, Trump’s few initial statements, courtesy of the elusive Wolkoff (a New York-based event organizer and fashion luminary), indicate that the new first lady is interested in gardening, just as Mrs. Obama was. So was an even more talismanic first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, to whom Mrs. Trump has been compared.
When she announced the appointment of the new White House social secretary last week, Mrs. Trump cited Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta Lloyd’s link to Kennedy: She is married to Thomas Lloyd, a grandson of the late Bunny Mellon, a master of garden design who was recruited by Kennedy to design and plant the White House Rose Garden, the setting to many a White House event ever since.
“(Trump) has a deep personal commitment to her role as caretaker and nurturer, beginning with her family,” the Wolkoff statement on Saturday said. “She believes there is a connection between a child’s mind and places of calm and beauty to be used as a tool for us all.”
Mrs. Obama focused new attention on the White House Kitchen Garden (such gardens have been present on the grounds since the White House was completed in 1800) when she became first lady in 2009, to supply healthier fresh produce for White House events, and as part of one of her signature FLOTUS projects, reducing childhood obesity by encouraging kids to eat healthier food.
First Lady Melania Trump said she plans to maintain former First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous White House vegetable garden.
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