While the rest of the country is on fire (some of it literally), Melania Trump has been gardening. She recently unveiled pictures of the newly redesigned White House Rose Garden, and the pictures were met with almost immediate criticism.
What was once a vibrant, colorful, luscious garden now looks painfully austere and lifeless. Take a look at the photos she shared.
The garden looks extremely...manicured. White rose bushes are surrounded by zig zags of green bushes. And that's about...it.
And I suppose that would be fine, but when you compare Melania's work with what was there before it, it's kind of appalling to see what she did. For one, there's no color whatsoever. And there used to be a lot. Second of all, I guess Melania decided that the White House Rose Garden was no place for cherry blossom trees, because there used to be a bunch of those, and they're gone too.
Look at how vibrant and lively the garden used to be. Sure, the hedges and flower arrangements might have been a little outdated, but it takes quite a personality to want to get rid of all that color and instead make the garden a stern reminder of how humorless the First Lady is.
The criticism was swift and plentiful. Roxane Gay compared it to a "prison yard." "They took out those gorgeous trees. And removed all traces of color. A snapshot of this administration. Everything they touch gets uglier," another person wrote.
"Thanks for destroying the most beautiful place on White House grounds," another person wrote. "You took a beautiful, colorful, natural garden with iconic shade-providing cherry trees and turned it into something plain and ordinary and cold. What a huge disappointment. I cannot wait until you're gone."
For some, Melania's changes to the Rose Garden are about more than making it look uglier. For some, there's some very thinly veiled symbolism here.
"Chopping down the cherry trees because they're symbols of honesty. Replacing the multicolored flowers because they're symbols of diversity," one Twitter user wrote. But on top of all that...it's just bad gardening.
"Same," another gardener agrees. "Master gardener here too. What has happened here is unconscionable, furthermore, it was a pointless exercise in destruction. It's sterile in every way, lightweight and trite in the way of a business park grounds and is ecologically unsound." Wow, tell us how you really feel.
Akilah Hughes put it nice and bluntly in her response to Melania's announcement: "It's ugly. You did bad." That about sums it up. Whatever your thoughts are about the redesign of the White House Rose Garden, you can't deny that it fits in with other displays of Melania's taste. Remember that haunting Christmas hallway from a few years back? Sure you do. It became a meme almost instantly.
Obviously there are more important things happening in the U.S. every day than the Rose Garden renovation. But it fits so squarely with the coldness and inhumanity of the people in this administration that it's hard to ignore.